Artificial intelligence opens up new potential in healthcare

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The healthcare industry has witnessed some major changes in the last few years. There are nearly endless opportunities to leverage technology to gain insights into diagnosis, treatment and care processes. Among several technologies being used in healthcare, the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be more prominent than ever. 

This rapidly evolving technology of AI has seen huge waves of growth, even to an extent where experts discuss about replacing human physicians with AI doctors in the future. In the current scenario, AI assistants are seen helping human physicians in order to make informed clinical decision. In certain cases, the suggestions and judgements of these AI medical assistants are more accurate than humans, especially in radiology.

If statistics are to be believed, following numbers are sure to take you by surprise:

  • AI- powered clinical health applications have the potential to reach $150 billion annual savings for the US healthcare economy by the year 2026.
  • By 2021, the invasion of AI in healthcare is expected to earn $6.6 billion, which is about 40 per cent of compound annual growth.
  • It is estimated that the AI health market is likely to go up from one billion in 2017 to more than 28 billion U.S. dollars in 2025.

High availability of data in the healthcare industry and its systematic arrangement through Big Data solution has paved way for successful application of AI in healthcare.  Powerful AI techniques help in unlocking the hidden information from voluminous amounts of data, which assists in smart decision making. Let’s know about the real world applications of AI in healthcare.

Robotic surgeries

These are robot-assisted surgeries that allow doctors to operate on human bodies with minimal invasion. Large incisions can be replaced with a series of quarter-inch incisions and other miniaturised surgical instruments. Surgical robots integrate information, data and techniques from previous surgeries to improve the procedure. The best and practical example of this is the da Vinci surgery.

The da Vinci surgery

This surgery is undertaken by robot empowered with AI technology. The da Vinci surgery is specially designed to facilitate doctors conduct complex surgeries with minimum invasion. In this procedure, surgeon operates the robot through the console. Robot performs the surgery as per the guided instructions and AI capabilities.

Till September 2017, there were over 4271 units of da Vinci installed worldwide, out of which 2770 were in the USA,  719 in Europe, 561 in Asia and 221 in other parts of the world. Doctors who have experienced robotic surgeries notice a considerable improvement in flexibility and control when compared to traditional, conventional methods. 

Virtual nursing assistants

Artificial Intelligence technology is utilised to build virtual nursing assistants that reduce the communication gap between doctors, caretakers and patients. When surveying patients about using virtual nursing assistant, it is observed that they are quite comfortable to interact with these assistants because of round the clock availability, continuous health monitoring and getting instant quick response to questions on medications and treatments.

The advent of virtual nursing assistants has reduced the hospital and clinic visits for patients. It has also reduced the burden on medical professionals as patients feel empowered to resolve small issues by themselves with the help of virtual AI assistants. 

Molly – virtual assistant by Sensely

Sensely has come up with an intelligent way of connecting patients with healthcare professionals with the help of virtual assistant named ‘Molly’.  It empowers people with higher accessibility to medical practitioners, clinical advice and its related services.

Molly is the virtual assistant that directly interacts with people with its following set of capabilities:

  • Text to Speech: Molly is empowered to deliver the speech instantly and talk to people, just like any other another doctor.
  • Remote Monitoring: Molly allows for connecting different devices through Bluetooth for remote monitoring.
  • Chatbot: This virtual assistant chats with people in a humanly manner and sends answers to your queries in text message format.

Artificial intelligence for diagnosis & treatment recommendations

There are AI solutions that help healthcare professionals in simplifying diagnosis process and giving proven recommendations on treatment options. All the details such as patient’s age and medical history are considered in the process of giving recommendations. These solutions are powered with Machine Learning and Predictive Analysis capabilities to send intelligent and automated responses.

IBM Watson Health

IBM Watson Health is built with the intent to solve world’s biggest health challenges by empowering medical practitioners with technology and required expertise. This is a unique solution that helps in optimising overall performance of the healthcare organisation, engage patients, enable effective care and manage health of large population.

  • IBM Watson for Oncology: The stream of oncology is still in its nascent stage. It allows in focusing more attention towards the care of patients by saving time of making and saving records. Clinicians get best treatment option from IBM Watson solution that is trained by best-in-class and expert physicians.
  • IBM Watson for Drug Discovery: It accelerates drug research by intelligently analysing connection among genes, drugs, diseases and other entities through life science knowledge. Such evidence-based predications and dynamic visualisations help in generating new hypotheses for further research and analysis.

Reimagining healthcare in the world of artificial intelligence

Healthcare organisations believe in AI technology and are adopting Machine Learning processes rapidly. As per the Accenture 2017 Process Reimagined survey, healthcare topped the list of 13 industries that are disrupted with Artificial Intelligence technology.

AI is very complex and high potential technology that can revolutionise healthcare beyond your expectations. Clinics and other healthcare organisations must identify the perfect solution, partner with the right vendor and outline the roadmap for implementation.

Using Big Data along with AI helps in utilising data to train and sustain process change. Machine Learning enables in making process self-adapting and self-optimising to discover new opportunities.

Google’s DeepMind is yet another attempt by one of the major technology giants to diagnose or detect health risks with the data collected through the mobile app. Many other research projects exploring enhanced potential of AI in healthcare are still in process. In the near future, healthcare world would be majorly operated with AI capabilities.

Albert Smith, Digital Marketing Manager, Hidden Brains
Image source: Shutterstock/Wichy