Artificial intelligence is cracked up to be a game-changer for a lot of industries – and for a good reason. It offers a spectrum of unrivaled opportunities that boost your business’s value. If adopted wisely, it can help you automate your operations, increase profits, and provide a look into the future.
In healthcare, artificial intelligence holds great potential for improving patient outcomes and global medical services. Today, we’ll have a closer look at the most exciting AI applications in the medical sector.
What Is AI in Healthcare?
As such, artificial intelligence in the medical spectrum refers to the fusion of machine learning algorithms and other cognitive technologies in medical settings. This combination is implemented to assist physicians at all stages of the patient journey – from pre-registration to rehabilitation.
The main impetus behind the adoption of AI technology in healthcare is the growth of healthcare costs and the corresponding need to limit them. Also, the problem of diagnostic quality jolts healthcare providers into finding a more effective way to identify conditions.
That is why a growing number of healthcare providers are now relying on smart systems to collect and analyze medical records to diagnose or predict certain diseases. By 2025, the market size of AI in healthcare is estimated to reach over $28,000 million.
However, it is important to understand that artificial intelligence is not intended to replace the physician, but rather to assist them in diagnosis and treatment.
What Are the Benefits of Adopting AI in Medicine?
The reasons driving AI adoption are manifold. Artificial intelligence technology can fundamentally change the world’s healthcare system. It can redesign medical diagnostics, develop new medicines, and generally improve the quality of health care while lowering costs for medical clinics. But let’s have a closer look at the possible benefits of AI in medical settings.
1. Preventive treatments
AI is becoming more and more pervasive in medicine and AI tools can help doctors diagnose diseases before the disease is actually in an individual’s body.
2. Minimized errors
The proliferation of AI can significantly reduce human error. Thus, by adding large-scale data analysis to human judgment, artificial intelligence can drive down the chance of misdiagnosis. For example, the smart system predicted with 78% accuracy the likelihood that a sepsis patient would die after 30-days of ICU discharge.
3. Reduced costs
Despite having the opportunity to save an average of 17.7% on overall supply expenses, hospitals spend approximately $25 billion more than necessary in their supply chains, according to a Syft study from 2018. Artificial intelligence (AI) can assist physicians and medical workers with technologies that provide near-real-time statistics on the performance of certain supplies.
Besides, algorithms can automate a great share of manual processes.
4. Improved healthcare accessibility
AI in healthcare also bodes well for far-flung areas when coming in the telemedicine form by taking over certain diagnostic responsibilities. To encourage a more efficient healthcare ecosystem, AI can enable a digital infrastructure that allows for speedier identification of symptoms and triage of patients to the appropriate level and modality of care.
Now that we’ve grappled with the basics, it’s time to have a look at one of the most popular use cases of intelligent medicine.
Top Applications of AI in Medicine
Intelligent algorithms can amplify each layer of medical services – from back-office to actual treatments. On the predictive level, it can predict diseases, identify groups of patients at high risk of disease, and organize preventive measures. AI can also automate and optimize numerous processes in hospitals, manage pricing, and reduce risks for patients.
At the level of service delivery, it adapts therapy and medication composition for each patient, using virtual assistants to build the patient’s route in the outpatient clinic or hospital. Below, you’ll find some of the most prominent applications of smart medicine.
Medical imaging is the process of creating a visual representation of the inside of the body for clinical analysis and medical intervention. This procedure plays an important role in effective disease diagnosis. AI-powered tools can help radiologists simplify their work by speeding up workflows and providing an extra pair of eyes with data-driven capabilities.
Thus, AI-enabled medical imaging is known for easier reporting, since automated pathology finding speeds up the process of describing the image. Also, by using AI systems, the physician can verify the result by extracting data with the clinical picture in mind for inclusion in the report.
For example, some British hospitals are using a new way to test the fetus for abnormalities that are difficult or impossible to detect by other means. The system works based on artificial intelligence, and it contains more than 350,000 images of fetuses with various abnormalities.
The system is called ScanNav, and it can give the doctor a lot of useful information about fetal abnormalities, based on the data available in the database on other patients.
This type of analytics makes use of the available datasets and analyzes them to produce a prediction. It relies on statistical algorithms and AI technologies. Predictive analytics is a valuable tool for lots of medical applications, including pharmacy, health insurance, and clinical decision-making. Thus, predictive tools can improve diagnostic accuracy and personalize treatment with physician decision support.
By integrating predictive capabilities, physicians can evaluate the likelihood of disease development, identify risk factors, and get a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s risk group.
Qventus is an example of a hospital monitoring system. It tracks clients’ actions from registration to discharge and can predict the deterioration of patients’ health by analyzing their condition.
Robot-assisted medical specialties are no longer the subject of sci-fi. Today, surgeons can leverage innovative technologies to perform telesurgery and surgery with minimal intervention. However, intelligent systems cannot perform surgeries on their own. Instead, the surgeon makes small punctures and inserts a camera and miniature instruments.
Then the professional remotely performs all the manipulations using a console, which are then reproduced by the robot. Therefore, a robot is just an advanced and precise instrument in the hands of the surgeon.
An important stage in the development of modern minimally invasive surgery has been the use of the da Vinci robot-assisted system.
Today it is used in a variety of medical fields, including urology, gynecology, oncology, etc. The da Vinci robot surgeries are performed with minimal trauma to healthy tissues and reduced blood loss. Thanks to this, various risks are reduced and the duration of the rehabilitation period is shortened, achieving stunning accuracy of all manipulations.
Virtual Nursing Assistants
According to a recent Accenture report, the use of virtual nurse assistants in the healthcare industry could save $20 billion a year by reducing the time nurses spend on patient care by 20%. Today, computer assistants are already working alongside live nurses in U.S. hospitals to provide advice, tips, and other information.
These AI-based virtual assistants are designed to help doctors and healthcare providers make better decisions at the point of care and have a positive impact on clinical outcomes.
Several major health insurance providers have also recently expanded their use of virtual nurse assistant programs that allow patients to manage their medical records from home instead of coming into the office for appointments or procedures as is currently required by law.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual assistants in healthcare is rapidly growing and is expected to help medical professionals become more efficient by automating tasks such as scheduling appointments, updating a patient’s information, and providing reminders. The benefits of AI-based virtual assistants to patients include risk reduction, fewer missed appointments, and better physician access.
Gene editing is touted as an innovative technology that will make it possible to treat many human diseases, including hereditary diseases, viral infections, and cancer. Some technologies are already actively used in modern medicine.
For example, the CRISPR/Cas9 tool is used to treat inherited blood diseases, create cancer-fighting immune cells, and amplify active research to treat HIV. It is an incredibly powerful tool with enormous medical potential. In its simplest form, it is a way of making certain changes to the body’s DNA. However, there remains a probability of mutations due to off-target editing.
That is why artificial intelligence holds great potential for genome editing. AI algorithms simplify the analysis of sequenced data while predicting the genetic alterations linked with a specific genetic disease. When done manually, data analysis is a time-consuming process. Intelligent algorithms, on the other hand, can compare a malignant object to the same gene in a normal sample in mere minutes.
The Bottom Line
Artificial intelligence is already changing the world by enhancing human productivity, which will accelerate in 2022. The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is expected to rise significantly, with applications such as virtual assistants, machine learning, and AI-enabled devices on the way to improving care delivery.
As healthcare systems around the world continue to face growing challenges related to rising costs and an aging population that can no longer be supported by a dwindling workforce, many experts believe that AI will play a vital part in helping medical practitioners improve efficiency as well as the quality of care.