Two Doctor Friends Impacting Doctors and Healthcare Through AI and Machine Learning

Meet Dr Zuhairi Mohd Zainuddin and Dr Edre Mohammad Aidid, our trainers for the upcoming AI and Machine Learning Bootcamp for Doctors. Both men have a shared history and by the looks of it, a shared future as well. Both these doctors were once undergraduates at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and in 2011 were House Officers together.

But upon becoming Medical Officers and the busyness that comes with it, they lost contact with one another.  They reconnected during the COVID 19 pandemic when both realized their passion for coding and making a difference through this knowledge and skill in the field of healthcare.  Both men have been impacting healthcare in profound ways and the lives of doctors are being radically transformed because of their efforts.

“We can see very soon that doctors with AI are going to replace doctors without AI. So, I strongly believe that doctors who learn now will get the front seat in this revolution.” Dr Zuhairi Mohd Zainuddin

Dr Zuhairi Mohd Zainuddin

Dr Zuhari Mohd Zainuddin is a Psychiatric Medical Officer and a trainee Psychiatrist based at Hospital UiTM, Puncak Alam. As one who considers himself a “computer nerd”, he learned coding on his own and mastered several programming languages such as Javascript, Kotlin, and Python.

His life changed for the better when he became the project leader for MyCPU (Community Psychiatry Unit) and was mandated to use technology to improve the efficiency of the community in psychiatric care. MyCPU won first place at the Sabah Innovation Contest as well as the best practice award at the Malaysian Psychiatric Association in 2020.

Dr Zuhairi is currently working towards becoming a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych), United Kingdom. 

An award-winning app developer, Dr. Zuhairi is the founder and co-founder of several apps that have hugely impacted the field of healthcare. As mentioned earlier, he has worked on MyCPU, an award-winning app.  Others include Mekar which is a prototypal app to monitor and manage psychiatric cases in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic at Hospital Selayang; Detect, a COVID 19 and disease monitoring app for students and staff of IIUM; Psych Census, an app that compiles relevant information on psychiatry; and Hamil & Sihat, an app to help pregnant mothers monitor their pregnancy.

“The things I see that need improvements in the healthcare sector, the issues that I can work on… I try to find a solution [for them] in the form of programs, apps etc. to solve those problems” said Dr Zuhairi.

Dr Edre Mohammad Aidid

Dr Edre Mohammad Aidid is a public health physician and epidemiologist at IIUM with experience in communicable diseases epidemiology and digital health. He specializes in epidemiologic studies, geographical information systems, and statistical analysis, with a particular interest in machine learning (ML) techniques and clinical decision support systems in healthcare.

Dr. Edre is the founder and consultant of Digital Epidemic Detection and Action (DEtect) Health Initiatives where he led the design and development of a web application for COVID-19 surveillance at IIUM.

Apart from his MBBS degree from IIUM, Dr Edre also has a Master of Public Health and a Doctor of Public Health (Epidemiology) from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia.

A lover of data analytics, his passion became a reality when his subspecialties of epidemiology and biostatistics came together, and he found that he had tons of data to analyze. One thing led to another, and he found himself at the next level of data analytics, which is ML.

“Through AI and Machine Learning, doctors will be able to deliver a more precise management of patients and the community. It is imperative for your future in healthcare.”  Dr. Edre Mohammad Aidid

His contributions include collaborative research with clinicians using ML which has resulted in more accurate findings to impact patient and community wellbeing. He is also publishing in his fields of expertise, is a speaker at evidence-based practice workshops and is a consultant for statistics.

Dr Edre possesses expertise in statistical analysis tools such as RStudio and IBM SPSS, Machine Learning with RapidMiner Studio, Data Dashboarding with GoogleDataStudio, Geographical Information Systems with QGIS, and Conducting systematics reviews and meta-analyses using RevMan.

“I found out that there is a large amount of unused data and not many people are able to translate that large amount of data into proper analysis to be used in the healthcare setting.” he said, prompting him to do something about the situation.

Follow Our Conversation with Both Doctors Regarding the Power of AI and Machine Learning in Impacting Doctors’ Lives and Healthcare

What Would You Say to Doctors Who Ask if AI and Machine Learning is Important for Them in their Profession?

Dr. Zuhairi: We can see that AI is being implemented in all professions. So, doctors need to adapt to the times. We can see very soon that doctors with AI are going to replace doctors without AI. So, I strongly believe that doctors who learn now will get the front seat in this revolution.

[If you have AI and Machine Learning capabilities] you are going to be a pioneer in your department and among your colleagues. You are going to be very productive, and very effective, and you’ll have lots of patients…You will be able to avoid mistakes in clinical care due to human error.

Dr Edre: Now there are terabytes of data that can be found in hospitals, clinics, or at teaching hospitals which can be used for improving healthcare outcomes. Improving healthcare outcomes is of utmost importance.

For example, let’s say we have an elderly man with HBP.  It’s simply not enough to keep giving him the same medication repeatedly. For instance, the man’s socio-economic state, his surroundings etc. matter. These are data and ML is helpful in analyzing the man’s wellbeing. When you have these sets of data that are being followed up, you can deliver a more precise management of the patient and the community at large…

It’s not always possible to do simple stats to extract as much information as possible from data. That is when data science and ML are crucial. As an example, using machine learning, we were able to ascertain with high accuracy the close association between bacterial infection and colorectal cancer. The accuracy of ML in this case was even higher than those results provided via lab testing!

So, machine learning is of much importance in clinical practice where we can assist clinicians to advise their patients to undertake the relevant screening…The implication is that we can intervene quite easily should an issue arise in patients. Medical doctors who know AI and ML are in the best position to understand the data better and apply them better to achieve the best outcomes for our patients and the community.

What About Doctors Who Ask How AI and Machine Learning Benefits Them Directly? (“What’s In It for Me?“)

Dr. Edre:  Those who embrace technology are embracing the future of healthcare. If you don’t keep up with the ever-evolving technology, you will always be a follower or a servant and not a leader, following an existing trend.  Leaders spearhead change and innovation.

You will just be a follower because you won’t be able to understand what AI is all about. You will leave the decisions in the hands of the IT experts, which in fact will require some sort of additional governance in healthcare. The best way to benefit patients and the community is for doctors to utilize and extrapolate the data themselves to arrive at the most accurate decisions or outcomes for the patients.

Dr. Zuhairi: [AI and Machine Learning] can be used very specifically to meet your needs depending on your role in healthcare. For example, if you are a busy clinician, AI can help you prioritize which patients you need to attend to first. If you hold an administrative role, AI can help you with delegating the workload and organizing your data for you… You will save time, reduce your workload, and reduce work stress!  This is in addition to opening more career possibilities and income opportunities for yourself.

Can You Tell Our Readers a Little More About This AI and Machine Learning Workshop?

Dr Zuhairi: What I’m going to cover in this four-day course with Dr Edre is firstly the basics of how computers work, what’s under the hood, what’s data, what’s the CPU, how does memory allocation work etc….all technical stuff. Secondly, I’m going to teach doctors about computer languages and in this case Python. It is quite easy to learn but is very useful in our kind of work.

Thirdly, I’m going to cover Data Structure Algorithms. This is the essence of computer science… Learning to code is like learning English. But Data Science is like learning to write an essay, a letter, or a novel…Learning how to read and write is very different from writing a novel…

I am primarily an app developer. I know how to code and how computers work. Dr Edre is an expert in AI and ML, meaning he knows the technology behind it as he works directly in the field. If you learn computer science, AI will be much easier for you as AI is built on the foundation of computer science…. Without a solid foundation in computer science, you cannot use AI effectively and will become stuck in more advanced projects. So, I’m laying the foundation and Dr Edre will build upon that foundation.

“If you don’t keep up with the ever-evolving technology, you will always be a follower or a servant following an existing trend. and not a leader.  Leaders spearhead change and innovation.”   Dr Edre Mohammad Aidid

Dr. Edre: This coding and machine learning workshop is really for beginners. So, when I say beginners, Dr Zuhairi and I will try our best to impart knowledge as much as possible so that those who attend the workshop will be able to appreciate and utilize the training…We will try our best to communicate in human language to the doctors in the workshop.

What we want to accomplish in doctors interested in ML is the inculcation of skills that will enhance the capabilities of these doctors to embrace the change in technology. Without this knowledge you will just be another doctor.  

AI is the ability of a machine or a system to learn on its own and ML is a subset of AI. ML is where you train the machines many, many times so that it can perform commands almost like what a human being can do. In a nutshell, AI is the concept of learning by computer systems and ML is the method to achieve that learning. Data science involves learning how you want to understand the use of data and how you turn data into valid and useful information so we can intervene quite easily should an issue arise with our patients.

“If you know Data Science Algorithms (DSA), you can build programs. It’s very important for doctors to learn these things before delving into AI and Machine Learning.  It’s going to be a significant boost for those who come to the Workshop. A real game-changer for those who are truly interested to learn from us.” Dr Zuhairi Mohd Zainuddin

“This coding and machine learning workshop is really for beginners. So, when I say beginners, Dr Zuhairi and I will try our best to impart knowledge as much as possible so that those who attend the workshop will be able to appreciate and utilize the training…We will try our best to communicate in human language to the doctors in the workshop.” Dr Edre Mohd Aidid

Parting Words from Both Doctors to You

Dr Edre: When I encountered patients and hospital managers [through my work], I found out that improving healthcare outcomes were of utmost importance…To achieve that level of wellness and wellbeing [in patients and in the community], you need some kind of data…There’s no running away from achieving that wellness and wellbeing that is data-driven.

Dr. Zuhairi: If you know Data Science Algorithms (DSA), you can build programs. It’s very important for doctors to learn these things before delving into AI and Machine Learning.  It’s going to be a significant boost for those who come to the Workshop. A real game-changer for those who are truly interested in learning from us.

“[AI and Machine Learning can be used very specifically to meet your needs depending on your role. For example, if you are a busy clinician, AI can help you prioritize which patients you need to attend to first. If you hold an administrative role, AI can help you with delegating the workload and organizing your data for you… You will save time, reduce your workload, and reduce work stress.” Dr. Zuhairi Mohd Zainuddin

So how about it, doctors? When opportunity knocks at your door, it’s time to act! Don’t let this golden opportunity pass you by. Become a leader and a pioneer in healthcare and not just a follower by signing up for the AI and Machine Learning Bootcamp for Doctors here.

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To find out more about non-clinical jobs for doctors in Malaysia check out our job vacancy and find inspiration from medical doctors who’ve made a career change in our case studies.

If you’re thinking of a career transition, do download Dr Selina’s Switching Careers for Doctors eBook here to get you started on your journey.

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