Business magnate Dhammika Perera said that he will be investing in two technological platforms to help boost the country’s health sector as a part of his charity work.
“Right now, it’s very expensive for a patient to get a second opinion. So I will be bringing IBM Watson to Sri Lanka so that doctors can give a second opinion,” the country’s’ richest individual said during the 37th National Conference of Chartered Accountants held last week.
IBM Watson, which was initially developed to answer questions on the American television game show ‘Jeopardy!’ is now being used for a wide array of applications, including healthcare, weather forecasting, biotechnology and brand management.
Doctors in the western world are using IBM Watson’s ability to learn and create hypotheses using its massive database to get second opinions on cancer patients by inputting many variables, as well as to get opinions on treatment options.
Perera also said that he would be creating a ‘live medical doctor’ phone consultation system, which also has been widely adopted across the globe.
“We will develop it and donate it to the public health sector,” he said. While telephone consultations have been used to solve the gap between the supply and the demand of medical professionals—a problem Sri Lanka is now facing—there has also been some criticism of doctors at times misdiagnosing illnesses. Perera did not mention how much he would be investing to implement the two programmes.
His comments come at a time when two of the country’s largest telecommunication companies have invested heavily to create technology platforms for the health sector. (CW)