Artificial Intelligence (AI) combines the best of both worlds: the superior and consistent response delivered by Machine Learning algorithms and neural networks, with human-like conversational abilities. Just as a human performs better with experience, the AI algorithm becomes better and more accurate as it encounters more and more data.
While pattern recognition and automated billing topped the early AI use-cases, AI has taken up more sophisticated uses, from radiographic image analysis to cyber-security, from virtual nursing assistants to personalized healthcare products. All these innovations improve patient outcomes in terms of easy access, affordability, and effectiveness.
AI Takes Diagnosis to a New Level
Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes diagnosis much more accurate and effective. AI-powered algorithms scan through medical records, imaging, genome data, and more, to improve diagnostic outcomes and treatment approaches.
Applying AI to Big Data unlocks clinically relevant information not easily retrievable otherwise. AI systems examine X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other medical imagery to offer comprehensive, in-depth analysis and feedback on what human eyes may miss, or is incapable of seeing.
Healthcare giants train AI systems to assist clinical decision-making. AI algorithms do not suffer from cognitive blocks, fatigue, or competing priorities so often obscuring the human brain, and makes a comprehensive analysis of the available information. Moreover, the system always remembers and retrieves an insight once gained, without forgetfulness, oversight, or even a human researcher having to search for the information.
AI has already made great strides in cancer detection. Combining genomics with AI allows spotting cancer and some vascular diseases early. The American Cancer Society admits that a high proportion of mammograms yield false results, to the extent that physicians tell one in every two healthy women that they have cancer! AI enables review and translation of mammograms 30 times faster with 99% accuracy, reducing the need for unnecessary biopsies. As a case in point, the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) physicians already train IBM Watson to provide clinicians with evidence-based treatment options for their cancer patients
AI also facilitates proactive healthcare management. AI algorithms combine pattern recognition with environmental, genomic, lifestyle and other data, to identify not just chronically ill patients, but also patients at risk of developing a condition.
Comprehensive Approach to Disease Management
Artificial Intelligence allows clinicians to approach disease management in a comprehensive manner. AI systems draw from the comprehensive diagnosis to coordinate care plans effectively and help patients to better manage and comply with long-term treatment programmes.
AI products analyse Big Data and apply predictive analysis to support clinical decision-making. IBM’s Watson for Health stores and reviews every medical journal, symptom, and treatment case study from across the world, and unlocks it to make power diagnosis whenever required. Such a task borders on the realm of impossibility even for first-generation computing.
Google’s DeepMind Health develops neural networks that mimic the human brain. DeepMind collaborates with clinicians, researchers, and patients, and applies machine learning and neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms into neural networks.
Cutting edge AI products are now making great strides in personal health gadgets. AI-powered personal health assistants offer medication alerts, appointment reminders, and other interventions, with a human touch. Consider the case of AI-powered lullabies created by AXA PPP. The embedded deep learning system gets a feel for rhythm and harmony, and gives out a new composition, allowing the listener to have better sleep.
The proliferation of consumer wearable featuring AI detects heart and some other diseases early, enabling doctors and other caregivers to monitor and treat -threatening episodes at treatable stages. Having identified a condition or a risk, these wearable enable real-time monitoring and support, paving the way for timely interventions and precautions.
The futuristic robotic dominated medical care that was featured in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is now within the realms of reality. Robots are fast taking over healthcare assistance, without losing the characteristic human touch or care associated with the service.
Labs have been using robots for long, to perform hazardous or repetitive tasks. Today, surgeons use robots to make precise incisions difficult to accomplish using human hands. AI algorithms combine real-time data during operations with patent records, to offer better insights, accessible to surgeons hands-free, through AR Goggles. Accenture estimates AI-enabled robot-assisted surgery to save $40 billion annually by 2026, in the US alone.
AI-powered virtual nursing assistants replicate the behavior of normal human nurses. These Robo-nurses assist patients with their daily routines, remind them to take medications, manage doctor appointments, answer medical questions, and do more, without fatigue, breaks, or inefficiencies. Accenture estimates virtual nursing assistants to save $20 billion in costs for the US healthcare industry by 2026.
Robots allow the elderly and the infirm to remain independent, sparing hospitalisation. AI combined with the advancements in humanoid design enable robots to converse and have human like social interactions, to keep their ageing minds sharp and ward off dementia.
On the anvil is healthcare bots to schedule appointments and other administrative tasks. Patients, interacting with these AI bots would receive a much superior level of support including 24×7 availability, assistance with medication, and more. The natural human-like conversational capabilities of the bots, combined with its power to draw instantly from a large database of scenarios, means these bots can answer questions, take decisions or offer advice in a way that a human cannot.
Related: Evolution of Chatbots in Healthcare
AI spurred innovation is fast expanding the boundaries of healthcare, offering patients solutions that not too long ago seemed like science fiction. Healthcare AI will touch $6.6 billion in value by 2021. Accenture estimates AI applications to create annual savings of $150 billion by 2026 for US healthcare.