There are many ways that artificial intelligence is being used to improve the world around us. In fact, during a large conference organized for developers, Microsoft showed what it could look like to live in a world full of AI technology. One industry that is largely being shaped and transformed by AI technology is the healthcare industry. Valued at $2.4 billion in 2019, the global healthcare marketed is projected to reach $31.02 billion in 2025.
As AI advances it can be applied to more aspects of healthcare. The main goal of AI in healthcare is to improve patient outcomes by advancing care techniques. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the great need for advancement in health tech, particularly in the areas of telemedicine, vaccine development, and for understanding individual and population risk for infections and disease. The four main areas that healthcare is being impacted by AI are diagnostics, treatment, patient engagement, and administrative.
AI is able to analyze symptoms faster and, in some cases, more accurately than human healthcare providers. It works by analyzing the patient’s symptoms and constructing personalized treatments to fit the individual’s specific needs. AI technology uses advanced medical imaging tools, smartphones, and intelligent symptom checkers to improve the diagnostic process.
The ability to use smartphones and other portable devices in areas such as dermatology and ophthalmology is really exciting. In dermatology, AI can be used to analyze and classify skin issues in order to differentiate between benign and malignant skin lesions. In ophthalmology, the medical device company Remidio created technology that uses a smartphone-based fundus camera, a low-power microscope with an attached camera, to detect diabetic retinopathy.
Furthermore, intelligent symptom checkers, which provide patients with user-friendly chatbots that can help to identify what’s wrong and offer guidance, can expand access to care and inform patients about appropriate next steps.
Through technology such as clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) and brain-computer interfaces, AI has become a valuable tool for helping healthcare providers find solutions.
Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs), which helps healthcare providers make better decisions, and analyze new patient data quickly and effectively. IBM offers clinical support tools to help healthcare providers make more informed and evidence-based decisions.
Additionally, brain-computer interfaces, which have the ability to turn brain signals into commands and relay them to a device, can be used to restore patients’ ability to speak and move. This technology has the ability to drastically improve the quality of life for a range of patients, such as those with ALS, strokes, or spinal cord injuries.
According to the CDC, about one in five new prescriptions are never filled and approximately only half of those filed are taken correctly. AI has the ability to significantly improve patient adherence.
Smartwatches and activity trackers that utilize AI technology can help patients and practitioners keep a closer eye on health. Patients that are more involved in their care process, and who are receiving reminders to act in accordance with their plan of care, are more likely to have positive outcomes. Care plans are most effective when they are followed correctly. Additionally, these devices can collect and analyze key data that can further inform the treatment of individual patients and potentially the population. Data on population health can help healthcare providers find new solutions for infection control, and even react to situations, such as a future pandemic.
AI can also improve patient engagement with an improved patient self-service model. These custom care systems empower patients to take control of their own health by implementing natural language processing tools. These tools simplify and improve the care process by providing patients with a convenient online portal.
Given that AI reviewing medical records in electronic health records takes up 34 to 55 percent of doctors’ time, it’s important to find ways to free up the valuable time of physicians and nurse practitioners. AI uses natural language processing in the form of clinical documentation to lessen this burden, allowing healthcare providers to devote time to more important responsibilities.
Additionally, AI can be used to improve health insurance. Since 80% of healthcare claims are flagged by insurers as incorrect or fraudulent, the current process is quite time-consuming. AI can analyze claims in seconds, rather than months or days.
Overall, AI is a valuable and transformative technology that is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. In healthcare, AI enables doctors to deliver faster, more precise, and more personalized treatment to patients. See the visual below from the University of St.Augustine for Health Sciences to learn more about how AI is revolutionizing healthcare.