Union S&T Minister emphasises criticality of digital medicine

New Delhi, Feb 01: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; Minister of State PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has emphasised the criticality of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital medicine in future healthcare.

During a visit to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-Jammu for the inspection of upcoming new blocks and inauguration of recently developed facilities, he suggested that to develop an exclusive identity for the institution, the focus should be on futuristic areas like digital health and Artificial Intelligence. Tele-medicine and robotic surgery have already taken over in a big way and the indispensable utility of these new options was realised during the pandemic times, he noted.

The Minister informed that the OPD services will start immediately in AIIMS, Jammu. Thirty faculty members have already been inducted and the entire six-storey AIIMS building will be ready by early next year.

He announced that AIIMS Jammu will function in close collaboration with CSIR-IIIM Jammu. An MoU was signed in the presence of the Minister, between Director, AIIMS, Jammu, Dr Shakti Gupta and Director, CSIR-IIIM Jammu, Dr. D. Srinivasa Reddy, on behalf of the two institutions.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is an irony that CSIR-IIIM Jammu and Government Medical College Jammu existed in the close vicinity of just about 4 kilometres from each other and even though both the institutions were dedicated to medical research, there was hardly any collaboration between the two in the past. He said, every effort would be made to bring in closer integration of IIIM with GMC and between IIIM Jammu and AIIMS Jammu, both of which happen to be the Central Government institutions.

Dr Jitendra Singh noted that IIIM Jammu is one of the oldest CSIR laboratories in the country and even today it is conducting pioneering research in Cannabis medicinal products and a host of other drugs, which makes the institute a natural ally of the AIIMS which has also the mandate of research and medical education.

He appreciated the progress made during the brief period since Dr Shakti Gupta took over as the Director of AIIMSand suggested that to develop an exclusive identity for the institution, the focus should be on futuristic areas like digital health and Artificial Intelligence. AIIMS could be a pioneer in North India in developing AI-based healthcare infrastructure, observed Dr Singh.

The Minister said it is because of the personal indulgence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Jammu has, in recent years, developed major centrally funded academic institutions in close vicinity of each other, thus making it an important educational hub in the region. He called for greater integration at different levels among science institutions, then between scientific institutions and non-scientific institutions, and finally among all these educational institutions put together and the industry and start-ups for sustainable growth, development, and livelihood.

Dr Jitendra Singh hoped that with the constitutional barriers of the past having been done away with in the case of Jammu & Kashmir, the administration and the management will make all efforts to attract the best of the faculty from different parts of the country. (India Science Wire)

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