Majority ready for robotics healthcare

 27 Apr 2017 - 22:58

By Fazeena Saleem / The Peninsula

Majority of healthcare consumers in Qatar are willing to receive care from advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, according to a recent study.
Some 65 percent of respondents have expressed their willingness to use advanced computer technology or robots with AI that can answer health questions, perform tests, make a diagnosis and recommend treatment, says a survey conducted by PwC. The findings are part of a report by ‘What doctor? Why AI and robotics will define New Health’ by PwC, one of the world’s largest professional services networks.
The survey was conducted among more than 11,000 people from 12 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Among them more than half of respondents (55 percent) has said they were willing to use advanced technology for treatment.
Respondents from neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia (66 percent) and UAE (62 percent) has said they were ready to accept AI and robots for their healthcare needs.
Dr Tim Wilson, Middle East Health Industries Leader, PwC, says, “AI and robotics are the future of healthcare, and the Middle East is poised to take advantage. Access to quality, affordable healthcare, and good health for everyone are the ultimate goals of all health systems, including the Middle East. And when you combine clinical workforce shortages in the Middle East, with more positive factors like a young, digitally minded population that, according to our survey, is willing to adopt AI and robotics, PwC thinks the Middle East could leapfrog other countries in these technologies. We would like to see the Middle East invest and become a global centre of excellence for AI and robotics in healthcare, bringing benefits locally and becoming a place that other countries look to for healthcare innovation.”
The PwC, report has also found that people are increasingly willing to engage with AI and robots if it means better access to healthcare, speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment is a critical factor for this willingness and trust in the technology is vital for wider use and adoption; the ‘human touch’ remains a key component of the healthcare experience.
Also majority of respondents (73 percent) to the survey are willing for a robot to perform a minor surgical procedure instead of a doctor. It is 55 percent in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and 50 percent in UAE.
A significant percentage of respondents also willing to undergo major surgery as replacement of a knee or hip joint, removal of a tumour, or heart surgery such as performed by a robot. Some 45 percent in Qatar, 44 percent in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, compared with 27 percent in the UK were willing to undergo major surgery by a robot.