Can AI and machine learning solve the healthcare crisis?
Your future doctor might not be human. And your healthcare costs may become incredibly affordable in the years to come. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are transforming health and medicine and helping to make faster and more precise diagnosis.
Thanks to advanced algorithms based on historical patient data and the latest breakthroughs in medical technology, artificial intelligence applications are slowly but surely becoming better at diagnosing patients and preventing diseases than doctors.
What does this mean for healthcare? There are two areas in which AI and machine learning are having the most impact – speed and accuracy. Add in the potential for enormous cost savings, and you’ll see why both medical professionals and consumers are getting all hyped up on AI when it comes to its role in disrupting the healthcare industry.
Faster diagnosis and increased efficiency
It’s no surprise that computers process and analyze large and complicated data sets faster than humans. In a study of cancerous tumor cells, IBM’s artificial intelligence solution Watson was able to come up with the same advice as a team of medical professionals. The difference is that it took the team of professionals 160 hours and Watson only 10 minutes.
The use of AI in medical fields helps to free up time for doctors and other medical professionals to concentrate on research, interacting with their patients, and providing better care. It limits the amount of time needed to study charts and complete complicated paperwork and studies.
Artificial intelligence in hospitals is also showing up in handheld IoT devices that are able to scan a patient’s wristband and instantly deliver chart information, medicine dosages, allergy information and more. Artificial intelligence medical imaging and deep learning medical imaging applications are able to quickly analyze X-rays and CT scans.
Not only is AI helping medical professionals perform their jobs quickly and more efficiently, it is also helping them do it safer and reducing risks to patients and liability to hospitals and clinics.
Higher rate of accuracy
In addition to artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare applications being able to deliver faster diagnoses and results than humans, they are also delivering information that is much more accurate.
Just last year, Google introduced DeepVariant, a biomedical machine learning solution that utilizes neural networks to study genome through sequencing data. The FDA awarded DeepVariant with first place in the PrecisionFDA Truth Challenge, which is an event promoting more accurate genetic sequencing.
Ultromics - artificial intelligence enhanced diagnostics system - was developed by researchers at John Radcliffe Hospital specifically to study and treat heart disease. Its machine learning medical diagnosis is actually more accurate than doctors 80% of the time.
More accurate testing and diagnosis is another way that artificial intelligence will be able to help bring down the cost of healthcare, as there will be fewer opportunities for misdiagnosis and medical malpractice cases.
The future of medical AI
As medical costs continue to rise and become more of a focus in the U.S. political arena, AI medical diagnosis may just be the trend that will democratize and solve the healthcare crisis as we know it.
Rather than having to make an appointment with a doctor or experience a costly emergency room trip, AI wearables can diagnose for you and let you know if your symptoms are serious enough to seek medical attention. Some devices can already detect the early signs of a heart attack or stroke and call for help before either actually happens.
With artificial intelligence and machine learning helping patients self-diagnose, there will be less visits to the doctor and fewer hospital admissions. What this will mean for medical facilities and insurance companies’ bottom lines is not clear, but AI will definitely have an effect.
One thing is for certain. For all the fears concerning artificial intelligence, the impact it can have on saving lives and making people healthier is something we can all embrace.