(Yicai Global) Nov. 22 -- iKang Healthcare Group, a private Chinese healthcare provider, plans to use artificial intelligence in some of its checkup programs to improve diagnostic efficiency.
iKang will introduce AI technology in cooperation deals with several third-party companies, founder Zhang Ligang said in an exclusive interview with Yicai Global. The technology will be used for retinal image analysis, tumor screening, chronic disease management, treatment services and in other areas, he added.
Physical examination relies more on a doctor's experience. The introduction of AI can enhance the diagnostic level, boost screening of chronic diseases and complications including hypertension, diabetes, and some tumors, thus promoting the company's revenue growth, Zhang said.
As an auxiliary tool, AI can provide more accurate diagnosis in a few seconds, greatly improving efficiency, Wang Wenhua, executive director of China Insights Consultancy, told Yicai Global.
The average budget for employee medical checkups at most Chinese firms is just several hundred yuan, making it difficult for experts when making a diagnosis. AI technology will help with this, Zhang said.
The sector suffers from a lack of professionals as many experienced doctors refuse to work in commercial checkup clinics. iKang struggled to set up new outlets because of a lack of qualified doctors, a situation AI can help ease, Zhang added.
iKang will increase its investment in the AI sector, including cooperation with third-party companies to develop related AI diagnostic systems. There is a large gap between the number of qualified pathologists and the demand in China. Projects such as cervical smear screening are done through microscope checking, which is labor intensive. iKang plans to develop an AI system to improve this.