Automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have been disruptive technologies in many areas such as manufacturing, retail, logistics, financial services, Education, Human Resources, Legal, Travel, Social Media, Agriculture, Real Estate, IT & Cloud Services, and Sports. Healthcare has the potential for more substantial and positive impact than other industries.
A 2016 report from CB Insights states that 86% of healthcare provider organizations, life sciences companies and technology vendors to healthcare are using AI technology. By the year 2020, these organizations will spend an average of $54 million artificial intelligence projects.
What are the most common solutions that are being implemented in the healthcare space? We present 10 ways that AI is changing healthcare now and will change healthcare in the future.
- Managing Medical Records and Other Data – The first step in healthcare delivery is compiling and analyzing information such as the patient’s past medical history. Data management is a widely used application of AI and digital automation to collect, store and trace data to provide faster and more consistent access to the patient’s medical record.
- Doing Repetitive Jobs – Analysis of tests, X-Rays, CT Scans, data entry and other mundane tasks can all be done faster and more accurately by AI robots. Cardiology, Critical Care Medicine, and Radiology are three disciplines where the amount of data to analyze can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Cardiologist, Critical Care Physicians, and Radiologists in the future should only look at the most complicated cases where human supervision is useful.
- Treatment Design – Expert AI systems have been created to notes, reports from a patient’s file, external research, and clinical expertise. This analysis then guides the selection of the correct and individually customized treatment path.
- Digital Consultation – Applications like Babylon (UK) employ AI to render medical consultation based on personal medical history and medical knowledge. Users report their symptoms into the application and respond to questions generated by the application, which then uses speech recognition to compare them against a database of illnesses. Babylon then renders medical advice based on the user responses. While regulations limit it to providing medical advice only, it is only a matter of time before it’s trusted to make a diagnosis and even write a prescription.
- Virtual Nurses – The startup Sense.ly has developed Molly, a digital nurse to help people monitor a patient’s condition and follow up with treatments between doctor visits. The program uses machine learning to support patients with chronic illnesses. In 2016, Boston Children’s Hospital developed an app for Amazon Alexa that gives basic health information and advice for parents of ill children. The app provides answers to questions about medications and whether symptoms require a doctor visit.
- Medication Management – The Nation Institutes of Health have created the AiCure app to monitor the use of medication by a patient. The webcam from a smartphone is partnered with AI to confirm that patients are taking their prescriptions and helps them manage their medical conditions. The most common users who would benefit from this app would be patient who tends to go against the advice of their physician’s advice and patients participating in clinical trials.
- Drug Creation – The development of pharmaceuticals through clinical trials can take more than a decade and cost billions of dollars. Employing AI to make this process faster and cheaper could have huge implications for future drug development and world health. During the recent outbreak of Ebola, a program that employed AI was used to scan existing medicines that might be redesigned to combat the disease.
- Precision Medicine – Genetics and genomics look for mutations that cause disease and genetic links to disease through the analysis of a patient’s DNA. AI can be employed to predict health issues that patients might have in the future based on their DNA analysis and current laboratory and radiographic study results.
- Health Monitoring – Wearable health trackers such as those from Fitbit, Apple and Garmin monitor heart rate and activity levels. These devices can send alerts to the user to get more exercise and share this information with physicians. In addition, data can be provided to AI systems to help define the habits of the patient and the future health needs of the patient.
- Healthcare System Analysis – In the Netherlands, 97% of healthcare invoices are digital. This high rate of utilization of digital healthcare information allows Vektis Intelligence to employ AI to sift through the data to highlight mistakes in treatments and workflow inefficiencies. Such use of health analytics helps Dutch health care systems avoid unnecessary patient hospitalizations.
The preceding list is just a sample of the solutions that AI is offering the healthcare industry. As innovation continues to push the capabilities of automation and digital workforces, solutions from providers like Vikheda will save time, lower cost and improve outcomes in the healthcare delivery space.