Published 25 Jan 2024

Dr. Gunta Dravniece & Mr. Alexsey Bogdanov: Health System Strengthening with Artificial Intelligence



The conversation involves Dr. Shibu Vijayan from speaking with Dr. Gunta Dravniece STBCEU Project Director, PATH, and Mr. Alexsey Bogdanov, Director, Digital Health and M&E, PATH about tuberculosis (TB) control efforts in Ukraine, focusing on the use of digital tools and artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare. Dr. Dravniece, with extensive experience in TB and paediatrics, and Mr. Bogdanov, a digital health expert, discuss how digitalization and AI are transforming TB diagnosis and treatment, particularly in the context of Ukraine's healthcare decentralization.
Introduction :
Dr. Shibu Vijayan introduces Dr. Gunta Dravniece and Mr. Alexsey Bogdanov. Both guests have substantial experience in TB control and digital health initiatives in Ukraine. 
Main Synopsis of Discussion :
  • Decentralizing Healthcare in Ukraine: Dr. Dravniece describes efforts to decentralize healthcare by introducing digital X-ray technology capable of AI integration. Mr. Bogdanov adds that the digital tools help manage patient cases across different facilities, improving care continuity and efficiency. 
  • AI in TB Diagnosis and Treatment: The discussion emphasizes the role of AI in real-time interpretation of X-rays, crucial in areas with a shortage of radiologists and in situations like war, where immediate diagnosis is vital. Mr. Bogdanov highlights AI's potential in identifying TB patients quickly and efficiently. 
  • Digital Tools in Patient Management: The conversation shifts to how digital tools simplify case management, especially in a decentralized health system. Mr. Bogdanov notes that digital records, including X-ray images, improve early diagnosis of various diseases, not just TB. 
  • Challenges in Paediatric TB Diagnosis: Dr. Dravniece mentions the need for additional tools like CT scanning for paediatric TB cases, acknowledging the limitations of X-rays and AI in younger children. 
  • AI’s Broader Applications in Healthcare: The discussion also touches on the potential of AI in detecting other diseases, not just TB. Dr. Dravniece and Mr. Bogdanov see the possibility of integrated service delivery using AI, which could aid in diagnosing various conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries. 
  • Future of Healthcare Digitalization in Ukraine: Mr. Bogdanov explains Ukraine's broader strategy for healthcare digitalization, emphasizing the central role of electronic medical records in the future. He notes that this strategy includes integrating X-ray data, which will be accessible to healthcare providers and patients. 
The conversation concludes with an appreciation of the efforts in Ukraine to maintain TB control and healthcare services despite the challenges posed by the war. Dr. Vijayan recognizes the significant role of digital tools and AI in enhancing healthcare delivery, particularly in TB control, and highlights the progressive steps taken by Ukraine in implementing these technologies. 

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