In order to lessen the burden of tuberculosis (TB), Punjab is planning to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for rapid diagnosis and treatment of the disease in government healthcare institutions.
The health department will use the technology to analyze chest X-ray images and generate reports, to assist doctors in early diagnosis and treatment.
With the central government aiming to reduce the number of new TB cases by 80% by 2025, prompt detection and treatment are critical in preventing the disease's spread. Delays in diagnosis exacerbate the condition and contribute to its spread. The disease is caused by germs (mycobacterium tuberculosis), which are both preventive and treatable, according to a report in The Times of India.
It spreads through the air from person to person. Several studies have shown that AI algorithms can diagnose tuberculosis in chest X-rays at a level comparable to radiologists. As Punjab has limited radiologist resources, this computer-aided detection method will likely benefit the health department by boosting screening coverage
Implementation In Hospitals
The health department aims to pilot the technology in ten districts. The technology will be implemented in hospitals that have significant patient traffic and are equipped with X-ray machines. Health centers without radiologists will be given priority.
The disease's incidence rate has decreased recently with the state government's efforts. According to the most recent India TB Report 2023, the case notification rate in 2022 in Punjab was 181, lower than 211 and 250 in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, respectively.
From the 52,253 TB cases reported till 2021, 1,407 were cured, while 1,319 were lost in follow-up. A total of 1,219 patients passed away.
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