Telangana Adopts Microsoft Cloud, Becomes First Indian State to Use AI for Healthcare

The Government of Telangana has announced an agreement with Microsoft India to adopt cloud-based analytics for Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, its health care screening program for childrenThe state has also agreed to adopt Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE), an AI platform to reduce avoidable blindness thereby becoming the first state in India to deploy artificial intelligence for eyecare screening.

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The Government of Telangana and Microsoft had signed an MoU in November 2016 to use Microsoft’s cloud technology to drive citizen services and digital inclusion. Under this MoU, Microsoft India conducted a cloud-based, advanced analytics pilot project to understand the health screening program among children from birth to eighteen years in 10 districts. The process involved health screenings of school students, carried out by mobile health teams under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), under the National Health Mission. The pilot, using Microsoft’s advanced analytics helped the state government unlock actionable insights by highlighting major conditions affecting the health of children in the state. The pilot is now scaling to a full-fledged solution which will enable the Telangana health officials to gain valuable insights to tackle health conditions covered under the RBSK program in children across the state. One of the insights already derived, indicated that vision impairment is one of the most prevalent health issues among children. The Government of Telangana has decided to adopt MINE to address this issue which will help them make early interventions and preventing or treating instances of refractive errors.

With a commitment to enhancing life impact through technology, Microsoft India, in collaboration with L V Prasad Eye Institute, launched MINE in December 2016. MINE is a global consortium of eyecare providers, research and academic institutions joining hands to apply artificial intelligence to help in the elimination of avoidable blindness and scale delivery of eyecare services worldwide. The consortium is working on diverse datasets of patients across geographies to come up with machine learning predictive models for vision impairment and eye diseases.

Speaking about the partnership, Shri K.T. Rama Rao, Minister of IT, Government of Telangana, said, “We are very pleased to announce that Telangana will be the first state in India to bring AI in Public Health Screening and we are excited about how technology has the potential to make great social impact. I am extremely happy with the collaboration between our Health and IT Departments and Microsoft which has resulted in a solution that is going to make a huge difference to the lives of the people in our country, starting with our state.  With the adoption of cloud-based advanced analytics, we see a huge potential for improving the healthcare of our young citizens. We are the first state to adopt MINE an AI based model to tackle avoidable blindness and we welcome Microsoft’s partnership in this endeavor. “

Commenting on this initiative Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Information Technology, Government of Telangana, said, “This initiative in partnership with Microsoft can potentially touch up to 60 lakh children who will be screened for health conditions under the RBSK program. The Government of Telangana signed an MoU with Microsoft last year to identify areas of collaboration primarily in eGovernance, Health, Agriculture, Education, Skilling, as well as the modernization of State Data Centers. Multiple areas were taken up and subsequently we decided to lead with healthcare first. It is heartening to see this association extend further into a scalable project involving the cloud platform and advanced analytics that will help build efficiencies of our health screening program. With the Artificial Intelligence platform MINE, we are hopeful that we can help detect and reduce avoidable blindness among children in our state.”

Speaking on the initiative Dr. G.N. Rao, Founder and Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute and MINE Partner said, “I am delighted to hear of the large scale eye screening for children by the Govt. of Telangana and to employ the business intelligence and ML platforms of Microsoft for analytics. This is a welcome development and a good step for the provision of good quality eye care to children in future. My best wishes to the success of the programme”

Speaking on the occasion, Anil BhansaliCorporate Vice President, Cloud & Enterprise and Managing Director, Microsoft India (R & D) Pvt. Ltd., said, “We have been focused on accelerating digital transformation in India using our advanced machine learning and cloud technologies. We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with the Government of Telangana by bringing the combined power of data, cloud and advanced analytics to drive the state’s missions around healthcare and digital inclusion. “

Speaking on the occasion Sanjeev Gupta, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd, said, “At Microsoft, we are always striving to help India transform digitally and this partnership will go a long way in empowering citizens to leverage the power of cloud.  We are proud to partner with the government of Telangana and hope to work with them to redefine health care in India.”

Microsoft India will work with the Government of Telangana to leverage existing technologies and infrastructure for immediate interventions of vision impairment cases including refractive error, cataract, eye surgery outcomes and eyesight problems, as well as derive deeper insights around eyecare. 

Machine Learning is one of Microsoft’s key focus areas and one in which the company is making significant inroads, both by way of research and development breakthroughs as well as translating the outcome into real customer impact. Microsoft has engaged with L V Prasad Eye Institute to build a predictive model that helps predict regression rates for eye operations, enabling doctors to pinpoint the procedures needed to prevent and treat visual impairments. To boost the education ecosystem, Microsoft has been working with various state governments on a machine learning based model to analyze and predict school drop outs and take preventive action. To aid digital agriculture, Microsoft has partnered with ICRISAT to provide powerful cloud-based predictive analytics to empower farmers with crucial information and insights to help reduce crop failures and increase yield, in turn, reducing stress and generating better income.