Healthcare institutions in Russia are not currently ready to implement AI-based solutions, and equipment is not a single point. That is an opinion of Alexey Dobrusin, member of the Russian Association of Pharmaceutical Marketing, who will participate in a panel discussion at M-Health Congress. We interviewed Alexey about the challenges that prevent AI integration into Russian medicine and possible solutions.
Interviewer: M-Health Congress (MHC).
Respondent: Alexey Dobrusin (А.D.).
MHC: Hello, Alexey. What do you think, are Russian healthcare institutions prepared to move to AI-solutions? We are interested in equipment and staff readiness.
А.D.: Hello. Unfortunately, the current level of readiness leaves much to be desired. As often happens, a technical aspect is a feasible problem. The reason is the conservatism of the healthcare market and unwillingness of staff at many institutions to move to new working processes. They can be justified. Any risk may cost a patient life. At Innovative Development Institute of Samara State Medical University, we are working on the promotion of this sphere.
MHC: Theoretically, what difficulties will a healthcare institution in Russia face while introducing any AI solution?
А.D.: I can outline three main difficulties. The first – poor infrastructure. To attain good performance of AI-fueled solutions, an institution has to possess fully-fledged infrastructure: data processing centers, data storage and transfer systems. AI solutions won’t work to their fullest unless all these components are present. As I have already mentioned, the second – lack of preparedness and market conservatism. The third – maintenance costs. Even if an institution finds money for system implementation, regular expenses on maintenance may be tremendous.
MHC: Could you please compare the Russian market of AI solutions and the one in the US and Europe?
А.D.: We are about five years behind. Our country is currently working a lot in order to catch up and overtake the competitors. Some solutions are effective, others – not. What is important in this sphere, it’s political liberty, funding, and new-generation specialists.
MHC: Being a healthcare marketer, tell us please how to promote the idea of AI-powered solutions at medical companies and institutions across the Russian Federation?
А.D.: The state of this market can be described with a term ‘at zero point’. Few people know about AI prospects in the medical segment. There is no need for AI-enabled solutions. Almost no one understands the benefits of artificial intelligence over solutions Russia currently have.
This market is to go through a long development path. PR tools are the most important thing in this process: publications, conferences, sharing information with topical medical communities. Education also plays a vital role: if in five years higher education establishments graduate specialists that realize the purpose of AI solutions in medicine, the market will jump to the next development stage.
MHC: In your opinion, what prompted the need for AI solutions in medicine?
А.D.: The answer is simple – cost-effectiveness and safety. Even now, some corporations integrate systems for solutions based on neural networks, for instance, Sberbank of Russia. They happen to be more effective than man-made solutions.
Of course, once implemented and effectively set up, a system would save expenses in the long run. However, it is doable only on condition that we arrange all the processes and infrastructure around it. The implementation of this idea will be difficult if we stick to conservatism.
MHC: What restricts AI possibilities in modern medicine?
А.D.: Currently, AI is just a mechanism that can offer solutions analyzing Big Data. If there is data shortage, AI will not help.
MHC: As a participant of a panel discussion ‘AI in life science’, tell us what issues you would like to feature most of all?
А.D.: I would like to discuss the problems of AI implementation into healthcare as well as methods of effective and mild solutions. It would also be interesting to discuss market development, new staff training, and digital infrastructure creation.