September 19, 2021

New online tool aims to help lower-income countries leapfrog AI-enabled health solutions

Case Study By

Dr. Ann Aerts

Head of the Novartis Foundation

State of Broadband 2021

The ideas and opinions expressed in this insight are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of ITU and UNESCO or the Broadband Commission. The mention of specific companies, products or services does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by ITU or UNESCO or Broadband Commission in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

The Novartis Foundation has launched a free online assessment tool to help countries identify where to best invest resources to enable successful deployment of AI solutions in health. The tool translates the 2020 report from the Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital and AI in HealthReimagining Global Health through Artificial Intelligence: The Roadmap to AI Maturity, into actionable insights for decision-makers.
COVID-19 makes the need for a digital and data-driven transformation in health even more critical, given that it has created a void in which other diseases are left potentially undiagnosed and untreated. Yet, most countries still need to build adequate and useable health datasets. A lack of sufficient skills in the field of digital technology and data science in our populations, workforces and leaders is compounding this challenge, as is the absence of strong governance and regulatory systems to safely deploy AI solutions in health for example.

However, knowing where to best invest resources for using technology to impact the health of the largest number of people is difficult. That was the reason behind Reimagining Global Health through Artificial Intelligence: The Roadmap to AI Maturity, which proposed a six-step roadmap for countries to advance their AI in health maturity. The six areas a country needs to invest in to advance on its readiness for using AI in health are: digital and data science skills of people and workforces; data and infrastructure; governance and regulatory systems; needs-driven and human-centered designs and processes for health system integration; multisector partnerships; and innovative business models.

The Novartis Foundation has now translated this roadmap into an actionable self-assessment tool that helps countries identify which of the six areas require more investment to successfully integrate AI in health. This freely available, online AI in Health Maturity assessment tool helps countries assess their readiness, and identifies areas that need to be strengthened to realize the full potential of AI technology in health. The ultimate goal of the tool is to leave no country behind in realizing the potential of this transformative technology.

Shared data from the self-assessments can foster best practice-sharing, determine opportunities for collaboration on data- and AI-driven innovation in health, and inspire policy makers around the world to design actionable roadmaps toward AI maturity in health.