Many industries have been disrupted by the influx of new technologies in the Information Age. Healthcare is no different.Particularly in the case of automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and industries with ties to healthcare have all been impacted – in many cases in more positive, substantial ways than other industries.
According to a 2016 report from CB Insights, about 86% of healthcare provider organizations, life science companies, and technology vendors to healthcare are using artificial intelligence technology. By 2020, these organizations will spend an average of $54 million on artificial intelligence projects.
So what solutions are they most commonly implementing? Here are 10 common ways AI is changing healthcare now and will in the future.
1. Managing Medical Records and Other Data
Since the first step in health care is compiling and analyzing information (like medical records and other past history), data management is the most widely used application of artificial intelligence and digital automation. Robots collect, store, re-format, and trace data to provide faster, more consistent access.
2. Doing Repetitive Jobs
Analyzing tests, X-Rays, CT scans, data entry, and other mundane tasks can all be done faster and more accurately by robots. Cardiology and radiology are two disciplines where the amount of data to analyze can be overwhelming and time consuming. Cardiologists and radiologists in the future should only look at the most complicated cases where human supervision is useful.
3. Treatment Design
Artificial intelligence systems have been created to analyze data – notes and reports from a patient’s file, external research, and clinical expertise – to help select the correct, individually customized treatment path.
4. Digital Consultation
Apps like Babylon in the UK use AI to give medical consultation based on personal medical history and common medical knowledge. Users report their symptoms into the app, which uses speech recognition to compare against a database of illnesses. Babylon then offers a recommended action, taking into account the user’s medical history.
5. Virtual Nurses
The startup Sense.ly has developed Molly, a digital nurse to help people monitor 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 for parents of ill children. The app answers asked questions about medications and whether symptoms require a doctor visit.
6. Medication Management
The National Institutes of Health have created the AiCure app to monitor the use of medication by a patient. A smartphone’s webcam is partnered with AI to autonomously confirm that patients are taking their prescriptions and helps them manage their condition. Most common users could be people with serious medical conditions, patients who tend to go against doctor advice, and participants in clinical trials.
7. Drug Creation
Developing pharmaceuticals through clinical trials can take more than a decade and cost billions of dollars. Making this process faster and cheaper could change the world. Amidst the recent Ebola virus scare, a program powered by AI was used to scan existing medicines that could be redesigned to fight the disease.
The program found two medications that may reduce Ebola infectivity in one day, when analysis of this type generally takes months or years – a difference that could mean saving thousands of lives.
8. Precision Medicine
Genetics and genomics look for mutations and links to disease from the information in DNA. With the help of AI, body scans can spot cancer and vascular diseases early and predict the health issues people might face based on their genetics.
9. Health Monitoring
Wearable health trackers – like those from FitBit, Apple, Garmin and others – monitors heart rate and activity levels. They can send alerts to the user to get more exercise and can share this information to doctors (and AI systems) for additional data points on the needs and habits of patients.
10. Healthcare System Analysis
In the Netherlands, 97% of healthcare invoices are digital. A Dutch company uses AI to sift through the data to highlight mistakes in treatments, workflow inefficiencies, and helps area healthcare systems avoid unnecessary patient hospitalizations.
These are just a sample of the solutions AI is offering the healthcare industry. As innovation pushes the capabilities of automation and digital workforces, from providers like Novatio, more solutions to save time, lower costs, and increase accuracy will be possible.