The implementation areas of Artificial Intelligence or AI are growing rapidly. This technology is already used to improve cybersecurity, manufacturing, education, and logistics. But does AI have something to offer for healthcare?
According to the latest paper published in the Future Healthcare Journal, AI will be increasingly applied within the healthcare field, especially for the tasks of diagnosis and treatment recommendations, patient engagement and adherence, and administrative activities of the healthcare workforce.
In this article, you will find more information about the promising opportunities of applying AI in the medical field, explore the ways it can improve the treatment process, and read about the most successful AI implementations for medical purposes.
How can AI be applied in healthcare?
The major AI trend in medicine is using deep learning in medical diagnosis to detect cancer. A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that the AI system has achieved a breast cancer detection accuracy comparable to an average breast radiologist.
Both radiologists and the AI system have shown 95 per cent confidence intervals. With the ability of AI networks to train themselves continually, there are big chances that their performance will be significantly improved in the nearest future.
Another promising implementation is the use of AI and the Internet of Medical Things in consumer health applications. These solutions use medical IoT devices to gather healthcare data and AI-based apps to process the information and offer adjustments to the current lifestyle of a patient.
The patient-centered approach of medical software developers leads to a trend for at-home health solutions. One of its possible implementations that are under development is a voice-based virtual nurse program.
Its major purpose is to improve the hospital room experience and simplify the process of preparing patients to continue their healing at home. Also, virtual nurses reduce patient anxiety, improve safety, keep people entertained, and increase patient satisfaction with medical services.
5 ways how AI can improve the treatment process
The best thing about applying AI in healthcare is that it can be used to improve various spheres: from gathering and processing valuable patient data to being used for programming surgeon robots. Let’s take a closer look at the top five ways the AI can be used for medical purposes:
1. Detecting diseases
Applying AI to medical diagnosis provides numerous benefits to the evolving of the healthcare industry. AI-based software can tell whether a patient has a certain disease even before evident symptoms appear.
In their latest research, Google proves that a neural network can be trained to detect signs of lung cancer earlier and faster than trained radiologists.
Although this program needs to be validated on a larger audience and go through additional tests, the idea itself already engages growing interest in using AI to detect cancer in early stages.
2. Classifying diseases
The opportunity of deep learning technologies to analyze images and recognize patterns opens up the potential for creating algorithms to help doctors diagnose specific diseases faster and more accurately. Moreover, such algorithms can continuously learn, thus improving its resulting quality of guessing the right diagnosis.
AI-driven software can be programmed to accurately spot signs of a certain disease in medical images such as MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans. Existing similar solutions already use AI for cancer diagnosis by processing photos of skin lesions. Using such tools, doctors can diagnose patients more accurately and prescribe the most suitable treatment.
3. Improving the decision-making process
Diagnostics and treatment have always been tricky processes. The reason for this is that doctors need to simultaneously consider symptoms the patient has, possible research mistakes, all the existing treatment methods, potential side effects, diseases with very similar signs, and many more aspects.
Modern solutions based on AI technology already help doctors to overcome research obstacles, process vast amounts of health data fast, and ensure a holistic understanding of a patient’s health.
4. AI-based treatment solutions
Even when the disease is detected and classified, the treatment process can cause additional issues. Not only, a treatment plan includes prescribing medicines and exercises, but also coordinate care plans, help patients manage their treatment programs, and consider the risk of an adverse event.
Modern AI algorithms already help doctors arrange a comprehensive approach to disease management. Moreover, they are often used to improve surgical robots that execute highly complex operations.
5. Making people live longer
AI is often predicted to be a key technology to help people live longer and reduce the need for hospitalization.
First of all, algorithms can process all the information about our health, lifestyle, and environment we live in for us. Thus, they can predict our biological age and offer measures we need to take in order to stay healthy.
AI is already combined with aging research to create an aging clock, which is going to help track immunosenescence levels and identify new interventions designed to boost the immune system in the elderly.
Existing solutions that apply AI in medicine
Although both the healthcare industry and AI are still evolving and have lots of complicated problems to solve, artificial intelligence in medical diagnosis is already the case. Below, we list the most successful solutions that use AI to address medical issues:
IBM’s Watson for Health empowers clinics, governmental programs, researchers, and patients by offering solutions for improving the workflow, optimizing the decision-making process, protecting from fraud, and allowing for a cost-effective approach to research.
Google Health helps patients to measure their fitness program and provides information about their medical conditions, nearest hospitals, and reminders to take medicine.
AI-Rad Companion Chest CT is an AI-powered healthcare solution from Siemens Healthineers that can read the chest CT images, perform automatic measurements, and prepare the medical report with valuable clinical images and quantifications.
AI-Pathway Companion is another solution from Siemens Healthineers that is created to optimize care pathways by gathering all the data about a patient and facilitating diagnosis and therapeutic decisions along disease-specific paths.
AI is already transforming the medical industry by helping clinics better arrange their workflow, simplifying the process of diagnostics and decision making for doctors, and offering valuable adjustments to lifestyle for patients.
Industry leaders forecast that not only existing solutions of using AI in medical diagnosis will be improved, but also new ways of its convergence with medicine will appear. For instance, AI is predicted to accelerate the drug creation process as well.