The influx of new technologies has disrupted many industries in this Information Age and the Healthcare sector is no different. Especially in the case of automation, machine learning, and AI, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and industries with ties to healthcare have all been impacted.
Artificial intelligence has been a self-running engine for growth in healthcare. According to an analysis by Accenture, combining key clinical health and AI applications can potentially create $150 billion in annual savings for the US healthcare economy by the year 2026. AI for healthcare represents a collection of technologies that enables machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn so that they can perform administrative and clinical healthcare functions efficiently. With an immense power to unleash improvements in cost and quality, AI is exploding in popularity and the growth in AI health market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by the year 2021.
So what are the AI solutions that are being implemented in the healthcare sector? Let’s dig into it –
Artificial Inetlligence has the potential to be used in planning and resource allocation in healthcare services. For instance, the IBM Watson Care Manager system is being piloted by Harrow Council with the aim of improving cost efficiency. It matches individuals with a care provider that meets their needs, within the allocated budget. Also, it designs individual care plans and claims to offer insights for more effective use of care management resources.
AI has also proven useful when it comes to improving the patient experience. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool is working with IBM Watson to create a ‘cognitive hospital’, which would include an app that will facilitate interactions with patients. The major aim of the app is to identify patient anxieties, provide information on demand, and equip clinicians with info to help them deliver appropriate treatments.
Doing Repetitive Jobs
The amount of data to analyze in case of Cardiology and Radiology can be a bit overwhelming and time-consuming. Also, the daily tasks of a hospital like a test analysis, X-Rays, CT scans, etc. can be painful to handle for a human. Artificial Intelligence could be the rescue here As all these practices can be managed fastly, efficiently and accurately by robots.
Developing pharmaceuticals through clinical trials usually takes more than a decade and it can cost billions of dollars to the company. Making this process faster and cheaper could be a big change in the world of healthcare. Amidst the recent Ebola virus scare, a program powered by AI was used to scan the existing set of medicines that could be redesigned to fight the disease. The program found two medications which may reduce Ebola infectivity in one day (when analysis of this type generally takes months or years). This is definitely a huge difference that could mean saving thousands of lives.
AI has the potential to aid the diagnosis of disease and is currently being trialed for this purpose in some hospitals in the United Kingdom.
Possible uses of AI in clinical care include:
Medical imaging – medical scans have been systematically collected and stored for some time and are readily available to train AI systems. AI could reduce the cost and time involved in analyzing scans, allowing more scans to be taken in less time and cost. Also, AI has shown promising results in detecting conditions such as pneumonia, breast and skin cancers, and eye diseases.
Echocardiography – the Ultromics system, uses AI in order to analyze echocardiography scans that detect patterns of heartbeats and diagnose coronary heart disease.
Screening for neurological conditions – speech pattern analyzing tools are being developed to predict psychotic episodes and identify the symptoms of neurological conditions.
Surgery – robotic tools controlled by AI have been used in research to carry out specific tasks in keyhole surgery, like tying knots to close wounds.
A startup called Sense.ly has developed Molly, a digital nurse to help monitor the patient’s condition and follow up with treatments, between doctor visits. The program uses machine learning to support patients, specializing in chronic illnesses.
In 2016, Boston Children’s Hospital developed an app for Amazon Alexa that gives basic health information and advice to sick child’s parents. The app answers any questions asked about medications and whether symptoms require a doctor visit.
Hence, it is safe to say that AI has great potential when it comes to the healthcare sector. The above are just a few of the solutions Artificial Intelligence is offering to the healthcare industry. As innovation pushes the capabilities of automation and digital workforces, more solutions to save time, lower costs, and increase accuracy will be possible.