Originating some couple of decades back, artificial intelligence made great progress in the recent years and has permeated into almost every aspect of life. This includes the healthcare sector where AI is creating a swell of interest.
Though the use of AI in healthcare is still very much in its infancy, the technology has created a spur in the sector, giving rise to questions such as whether AI will replace human physicians in the future. It is believed that machines cannot replace humans in the future; however, AI can certainly help physicians make better decisions or replace human judgment in specific functional areas in the field. AI’s tools comprise artificial neural networks, fuzzy logic, and expert systems which help in pattern recognition, learning, evaluation of conditions, processes, and decisions via reasoning, and simulation of the thought process of humans for decision making. Some of the benefits of using AI in healthcare include fast and accurate diagnostics, reduction of human error, cost reduction, and patient outcome and care efficiency. Currently, applications of the technology span diverse areas in healthcare, including diagnosis, therapy, prediction of the onset of diseases, automatic classification, dosage error reduction, wearable computing, hospital scheduling, artificial consciousness, medical robotics, visualization, and more.
Common Applications of AI in Healthcare
The Healthcare AI Market
- Management of Medical Data: A widely used application of AI in healthcare is data management. The collection, storage, re-formatting, and tracing of data are done by using robots to provide faster and more consistent access.
- Management of Redundant Tasks: Robots can perform repetitive tasks such as analyzing tests, data entry, X-Rays, CT scans and more with greater speed and accuracy.
- Assessment of Treatment Mode: AI systems help analyze notes and reports from a patient’s file, external research, and clinical expertise to choose the proper and individually customized mode of treatment.Consultation: Some AI apps provide medical consultation based on personal medical history and common medical knowledge. Users feed their symptoms into the app, which uses speech recognition to compare against a database of illness. The app then provides a suitable action to be taken considering the user’s medical history.
- Assessment of a Condition: There are AI-powered programs developed with the use of machine learning to assist in assessing a patient’s status and follow up with treatments between doctor visits.
- Management of Medication: Many AI apps also help track the use of medication by a patient. The webcam of a smartphone is integrated with AI technology to ensure that patients are taking their prescribed medications. The apps also assist patients in managing their condition. The patients could be people with chronic medical conditions, who unfollow doctor advice, and participants in clinical trials.
- Scientists are using AI to predict when the seriously ill patient may die. A new algorithm has an ability to predict whether the patient will expire within next 3 to 12 months with 90 percent accuracy.
- Development of Drugs: Several programs powered by AI make the development of drugs faster as well as cheaper.
- Monitoring of Health Status: Wearable health trackers help monitor heart rate and activity levels and alert the user to do more exercise and can share this information to doctors and AI systems for additional data on their needs and habits.
Healthcare is a fast-developing segment of AI, driven by factors such as innovation in clinical research, the rapid development of big data analytics, the growing investments in AI, and robotic personal assistants. The influx of healthcare data led to the growing demand for AI technology to enhance data mining and computing capabilities. Furthermore, the development of novel and promising applications of disease diagnosis and monitoring are expected to drive the market.
There is a growing need for healthcare facilities to come up with ways that enhance treatment outcomes, manage rising costs and meet the demands of the sprawling healthcare system. Several startups are making use of machine language (ML) algorithms to help issues such as reducing time and error costs in the drug discovery process, providing virtual assistance to patients and improving accuracy of diagnosis with medical imaging and diagnostic procedures.
Companies Investing in AI Applications in Healthcare
Several firms invested in artificial intelligence applications in healthcare. For instance, the supercomputer developed by IBM called Watson is used for oncology and cancer treatment in hospitals. It helps retrieve enormous health data and power diagnosis. It can review and store medical journal, symptom and case study of disease treatment and more much faster than a human. The company is also working on chronic disease treatment using AI by collaborating with CVS Health. IBM also partnered with Johnson & Johnson to find connections for drug development. Microsoft partnered with Oregon Health & Science University to offer cancer drug treatment options to patients. DeepMind Technologies which was acquired by Google is providing healthcare solutions to patients via a mobile app. Intel invested in start-ups like Lumiata that is helping to advance artificial intelligence.
Recently Jonathan Linkous, Founder and former CEO of the American Telemedicine Association and Mary Ann Liebert, CEO of Mary Ann Liebert Inc., have launched a new organization called PATH (Partnership for Automation and Innovation in Healthcare) which works as an advocacy alliance to promote AI, robotics, and automation in healthcare. Linkous said that AI and related innovations have already enabled industries such as banking, aviation, and entertainment to grow, provide higher- quality products, and allow consumers greater choice. The organization was formed with the aim of bringing health systems, payers, regulators, and other industry players together, and finding ways to leverage technology to reduce cost and expand healthcare while enhancing medicine delivery.
In March 2018, Royal Philips, an Amsterdam-based healthcare technology launched HealthSuite Insights, an AI platform for healthcare. The new suite supports the adoption of analytics and artificial intelligence in healthcare and offers tools and technologies to build, maintain, deploy and scale AI technology.
I am deeply fascinated by the impact of modern technology on human life and the earth at large. Being a voracious reader, passionate writer, and a critical observer of market dynamics, I have a strong taste for the hidden science behind all arts.