Dr. Har­sha Ra­jaram, Vice Pres­i­dent, Columbia Asia Hos­pi­tals

BioSpectrum (India) - - BIO CONTENT - Dr. Har­sha Ra­jaram, Vice Pres­i­dent – Columbia Asia Hos­pi­tals Narayan Kulka­rni narayan.kulka­rni@mmac­tiv.com

“An­nual per­cent­age of cancer de­tected at aware­ness camps is 5%”

Columbia Asia Ra­di­ol­ogy group (CARG) has been pro­vid­ing Tele ra­di­ol­ogy ser­vices since 2008. It has pro­vided re­port­ing ser­vices to nearly 100 plus clients across 9 coun­tries. CARG has been ex­tend­ing this ser­vices to nearly 13 mis­sion­ary hos­pi­tals across In­dia and in­sti­tutes such as In­dian Cancer So­ci­ety (ICS) through camps. Pro­vid­ing ser­vices at sub­si­dized price for cen­ters such as ICS, helps Columbia Asia (CA) play a role in cre­at­ing aware­ness about cancer, which is the need of the hour. In ad­di­tion, the re­mote pa­tient base this in­sti­tute serves caters to di­verse and unique dis­ease pro­file, this pro­vides a great learn­ing for ur­ban based ra­di­ol­o­gist. CA has re­ported nearly 40,000 cases over the last 4 years for ICS. This year the camp for Tel­era­di­ol­ogy was headed by Dr. Har­sha Ra­jaram, Vice Pres­i­dent – Columbia Asia Hos­pi­tals. Dr. Har­sha Ra­jaram shares his ex­pe­ri­ence on the aware­ness drive and the in­ten­sity of the camp. Edited ex­perts;

How many lo­cals showed up at the var­i­ous camps? What was the ra­tio of the cancer de­tected to the par­tic­i­pants?

The Pre­ven­tive Screen­ing Camps are al­ways area spe­cific. Lo­cal part­ners en­sure at­ten­dance. We try and cover the whole sam­ple of that par­tic­u­lar area. If it is full day screen­ing, then ICS tar­gets around 120 in­di­vid­u­als and if the screen­ing camp is of half day then tar­geted sam­ple size is 50-60. The an­nual per­cent­age the cancer de­tected to the par­tic­i­pants is 4.77%.

What was learn­ing from the camp? Would you look for­ward to more such camps?

ICS has un­der­taken Mo­bile Camps since 1984. In early years, In­di­vid­u­als were less aware of the risk fac­tors and symp­toms of Cancer. Now, thanks to so­cial me­dia, What­sApp etc. Aware­ness lev­els are much im­proved. Aware­ness speak­ers- Vol­un­teers un­der­take field vis­its to far flung vil­lages and pro­vide them gen­eral aware­ness about Cancer. Yes, we al­ways look for­ward to con­duct Pre­ven­tive Cancer Screen­ing Camp in or­der to in­crease their health seek­ing be­hav­ior.

Do you feel Tech­nol­ogy in med­i­cal field was an added ad­van­tage in this sit­u­a­tion?

Yes, Tech­nol­ogy adds a great value to the med­i­cal field. There is im­prove­ment in the cancer de­tec­tion rate as tech­nol­ogy helps changes over time. We are thank­ful to Columbia Asia Hos­pi­tal Ban­ga­lore for help­ing us pro­vid­ing tests read­ing. Re­ceiv­ing Re­ports within 24 hours is very en­cour­ag­ing, & im­pres­sive to Pa­tients.

Tech­nol­ogy is the lever­age. Mo­bile bus mounted with Dig­i­tal X-ray and Mam­mog­ra­phy is con­nected with Columbia Asia Cen­ter in Ban­ga­lore which pro­vides the re­port­ing ser­vices, Tele-ra­di­ol­ogy ser­vices on a mov­ing plat­form/ bus, prob­a­bly is one of its kind in In­dia. Tech­nol­ogy can fur­ther help in track­ing of screened pa­tient, bet­ter an­a­lyt­ics and also help in get­ting ex­pert med­i­cal opin­ion from any­where in the world.

What is the im­por­tance of Tele- ra­di­ol­ogy and AI in cancer screen­ing, kindly elab­o­rate on the pro­ce­dure?

Tele ra­di­ol­ogy has helped bridge and con­nect the needy pop­u­la­tion at re­mote places with ex­perts from in­sti­tutes such as CARG. Ac­cu­rate re­ports from ex­perts in the do­main can be pro­vided in short span of time with tele ra­di­ol­ogy. Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence can be a game changer in cancer screen­ing.

Imag­ing plays a vi­tal role in cancer screen­ing and it is a proven fact that early de­tec­tion has bet­ter mor­tal­ity ben­e­fit. Lot of ef­forts to im­prove screen­ing out­comes have mostly fo­cused on in­ten­si­fy­ing re­source ex­pen­di­tures like dou­ble in­stead of sin­gle-read­ing, more fre­quent screens, or sup­ple­men­tal imag­ing. Imag­ing anal­y­sis by AI, can be ac­cu­rate and ef­fi­cient, mak­ing it an ideal tool. The key though is the data on which the al­go­rithm has been built, it is es­sen­tial that AI should be men­tored by ex­pert clin­i­cian, build on val­i­dated data and good qual­ity as­sur­ance pro­gram will en­sure the good out­comes.

AI driven chat­bots and vir­tual as­sis­tants can take care of ba­sic yet te­dious tasks like reg­is­ter­ing, his­tory tak­ing and also be a great en­gage­ment tool with the iden­ti­fied pop­u­la­tion.

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