Can Artificial Intelligence Really Revolutionize Healthcare?

Abhinav Shashank
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Artificial intelligence- a buzzword that was initially created and introduced as a concept to imitate human brain and its actions and operate in the real world with a comprehensive human approach. Since its inception, AI has widely been used in developing and deploying selective defense, space exploration, and lately, intelligent personal assistance. However, AI is slowly making its way into modern healthcare and changing the realm of healthcare as we know it.

 

Making healthcare efficient with AI

According to a report, the overall AI market is projected to grow from 2016 at a compounded annual growth rate of 62.9%, reaching $16.6 billion by 2022 and AI for healthcare is expected to be a major driving force. The potential power of artificial intelligence in healthcare is enormous, exploring ways make healthcare patient-centric:

  • Developing data-driven innovative solutions improving the quality of care.
  • Analyzing millions of disparate and continuously evolving data points.
  • Applying these insights in real-time and improving decision making at the point of care.

Fortunately, healthcare CIOs have acknowledged the possibilities AI holds and reflecting this, the spending on AI and machine learning is expected to rise to $31.3 billion by 2019. The opportunities can mainly be categorized into three groups:

  • Cognitive insights: artificial intelligence that can mimic human decision making process.
  • Cognitive engagement: leveraging artificial intelligence to engage patients via voice commands capable of performing complex tasks.
  • Cognitive automation: devices and processes performing automated tasks and relieving providers to focus on other activities.

 

Peeking into the future possibilities

One of the major challenges healthcare industry faces is the fragmented nature of care delivery and communication across the network, resulting in rising costs and inefficiencies. Scalable big data platforms, interoperability frameworks, real-time analytics- all of these have been developed with the goal to deliver precise, patient-level care and drive better outcomes under value-based care. What’s coming is even more interesting:

  • Data mining: AI can be used for collecting, storing, cleaning, normalizing, and analyzing a vast amount of data through intelligent data mining algorithms, providing a complete picture.
  • Accurate diagnoses: Healthcare providers can monitor trends and spot anomalies in patient records and get ahead with timely and accurate diagnoses through AI-based predictive analytics.
  • Risk-based treatments: AI stratifying patients based on their risk scores and designing custom care plans to target specific risk factors by combining health trends, risk scores, and past medical history.
  • Personalized care: Intelligent algorithms can sift through patient records, anomalies, and distinct trends and can help providers offer personalized care to patients. Even post-discharge, providers can leverage AI-assisted care coordination to assign health coaches, remind medications, ensure adherence, document that information, and provide instant care in situ.
  • AI-assisted documentation: Artificial intelligence can help providers complete documentation and fully capture all data points and gain insights into the complexity, severity, and quality of care delivered and resolve any issues on the front-end of the clinical documentation.

Beyond these, AI can be put to use to better precision medicine, improving operational efficiency, automating workflows, and incorporating social determinants of health to design the best possible treatment plans.

 

The road ahead

Most of the possibilities listed above have already started to happen. However, the progress is far from seamless and uniform. If artificial intelligence is realized to its full potential, there can be huge medical discoveries and breakthroughs that will dominate how healthcare is delivered. Although there are challenges to overcome before AI gains full traction in healthcare, it’s no surprise that one day, AI through its undeniable power can transform healthcare as we know it.

 

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