Zhejiang Launches China’s First AI Medical Assistant

The Zhejiang Health Commission has introduced the AI medical assistant “An Zhen’er” at local hospitals

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4:36 PM HKT, Tue April 9, 2024 1 mins read

Every spring, a surge of patients seeking treatment for flu and respiratory issues inundates hospitals in China, as elsewhere. Navigating the complex medical system and hospital layouts can be a challenge for many. To address these issues, the Zhejiang Health Commission has introduced the “AI medical assistant” at local hospitals.

Powered by Alibaba, the AI medical assistant, named “An Zhen’er” (安诊儿), utilizes medical large models and digital human technology to offer comprehensive medical support from pre-diagnosis to post-treatment. Services include registration, AR navigation, queue management, and health inquiries. Since its launch at Zhejiang People’s Hospital six months ago, over a million citizens in Zhejiang province have already utilized these services through Alipay, Alibaba’s mobile and online payment platform.

med assisstant

Screenshots via Weibo Metro News.

One Hangzhou netizen (杭州金融女民工) shared her experience using the AI on Weibo, noting the convenience of using a smartphone for all aspects of a hospital visit.

“Before, visiting the hospital required carrying both the medical insurance card and the medical insurance book, making it a huge hassle to get treated,” she said, “Today, it’s much simpler. With just a smartphone, you can manage everything from registration to collecting medication. Alipay really makes it a streamlined process.”

Some view the integration of AI into the medical system as a glimpse into the future of the technology’s potential in daily life.

“I believe AI will significantly ease hospital workloads. Currently, navigating hospitals can be challenging, requiring visits to various departments and manual inquiry desks. Zhejiang’s use of AI streamlines these tasks, from guiding patients to departments to printing lab reports. In the future, AI could handle more, such as reminding doctors of instructions or providing detailed report interpretations, freeing them from repetitive tasks,” another netizen (胜利主义章北海) commented.

However, there are concerns about AI replacing jobs in medical system.

A Weibo user named “TheMythofGun” expressed his concerns, predicting that AI will gradually take over tasks like interpreting X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs for non-complex cases, currently performed by radiologists.

So far, the AI medical assistant has been adopted by 92 hospitals in Zhejiang province.

Cover image via Guangming Online.

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