Kazakh doctors to launch pilot programme using AI to treat cancer patients

ASTANA – Kazakh Minister of Healthcare Yelzhan Birtanov spoke about using artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose and treat oncological diseases at a July 11 government meeting.

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“Together with the IBM multinational technology company, we plan to launch a pilot project on the use of artificial intelligence in health care, particularly in the field of oncology. The system provides recommendations based on the analysis of data and scientific articles, which allows determining the most optimal methods of treatment for a particular patient. We managed to reach preliminary arrangements. Preparations are now being made for the launch of the project this autumn,” Birtanov said.

During a working visit to the U.S. in the spring, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev met with IBM management and discussed cooperation, Birtanov reiterated.  Later, the Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare agreed with the company on the use of artificial intelligence technology in oncology.

These technologies will help doctors make a timely diagnosis and adjust treatment. The IBM development is supposed to study and analyse data on the cases described in the literature and provide background information based on the analysis of scientific articles published in journals.

“In the first stage, we plan to upload anonymised data from the cancer registry. In the pilot mode, we will observe how the programme will evaluate the actions of local doctors and their methods of diagnosis and treatment based on international protocols. Thanks to information technologies, doctors will have the opportunity to learn more and adjust treatment,” Birtanov explained.

This is not the only programme developed by the ministry, Birtanov added.

“We are also developing a mobile application on patronage nursing for the care of little children. With the Kazakhtelecom company, we are working on projects such as a midmail.kz single postal service, cloud accounting, etc. In the midmail.kz project, we created 80,000 records for doctors so far. It has more than 170,000 visits a day. This service allows doctors to communicate with each other, create groups on various topics,” the minister said.

According to the ministry, 22 information systems function online in Kazakhstan. They are designed to collect statistical information and provide funding for the health sector. To integrate information systems and create a single databank, an integration platform is being implemented within the World Bank project. On the basis of the platform, the patient’s personal cabinet and the doctor’s personal account will be created. The project will be introduced in late 2017.