Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking over humans and it’s getting more sophisticated at their work, but with increased efficiency and decreased cost. The potential for the use of AI in healthcare is vast with numerous possibilities to transform its future. Just like in our every-day lives, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are increasingly becoming an integral part of our healthcare ecosystem. Several new studies have shown that technologies can outperform doctors in cancer screenings and disease diagnosis.
Healthcare costs in the U.S. are touching the sky and people are not able to pay hospital bills. It certainly is a very good war for doctors to earn money, but it shatters the country’s healthcare system. The problem is not superficial, but it’s rooted deep down with lots of inefficiencies in the existing healthcare and insurance systems that can be tackled with the help of AI.
AI was reported to have a market cap of 9.5 billion USD in 2018 and it’s expected to become an industry worth 118.6 billion USD by the end of 2025. Talking precisely about the Global Healthcare AI Market, it accounted for 0.95 billion USD in 2017 and it’s expected to reach 19.25 billion USD by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 39.7%.
As we mentioned earlier, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has multiple possibilities and benefits for mankind and the biggest one is to help people stay healthy and erasing the need of a doctor, or at least reducing it. AI in collaboration with the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in healthcare is already helping people. Additionally, AI increases the ability of healthcare professionals to better understand the day-to-day patterns and needs of the people they care for, and with that understanding, they are providing enhanced feedback, better guidance, and support for a healthy life.
Can AI fix America’s broken healthcare system?
Healthcare services in the USA are very expensive. People often go bankrupt because of the same. In other countries like India, the higher costs of medical procedures are borne by the government, and indirectly by the consumer but in the US the complete burden is on the shoulders of the consumer. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has great potential to provide solutions to fix such problems with following methods:
AI will reduce administrative-related costs
In the U.S., more than 30% of the medical costs are associated with the administration which includes consulting fees, staff needed for billing, insurance-related activities, etc. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can automate the paperwork and insurance claims, find the right vendors for drugs and reduce frauds and can ultimately reduce administrative-related costs.
Automated diagnostics means less doctor time
Smart apps can be built using Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can monitor your health and provide medication details without having the need to see the doctor. Pre-diagnostic chatbots are a great example of this approach. They can talk to you, identify your disease on the basis of your symptoms and can suggest the best medication or advise accordingly.
Faster drug discovery means cheaper drugs
The healthcare industry is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to aggregate and synthesize information, repurpose existing drugs, automate the running of pre-clinical and clinical experiments, publish the results automatically, etc. These activities ensure the faster discovery of drugs which eventually reduces the costs associated with them.
Less human error means lower malpractice insurance
Doctors pay a lot of money to the families of the patients in case of malpractice. By putting automated techniques harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in place, the scope for human error can be erased and the need to pay in for malpractice will vanish on its own.
Efficiently run hospitals mean lower operational costs
Digital billing systems and automated health check-ups using AI will help in reducing the amount of money spent on running the hospitals for various operations i.e. it will lower the operational costs.
How is Artificial Intelligence used today in the healthcare system?
Discovery of New Therapies
The large database of Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows it to look beyond the conventional methods of treatment and introduce new ones like smart pills.
Patient Risk Identification
Using digital solutions based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), early detection of the disease is possible, and the potential risks associated with it can be identified and reduced.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) we can out the stage of the disease at which the patient is and can decide whom to treat primary and the right method to do it.
Diagnosis and Disease Detection
IBM’s Watson for Health is helping healthcare organizations apply cognitive technology to unlock vast health data and power diagnosis.
Simplifying Clinical documentation
Used to create smart voice-based assistants and apps for billing and documentation. For instance, Natural Language Programming (NLP) is bridging the gap between doctors and patients.
Virtual Health Assistants
Chatbots that can talk, detect symptoms, scan images and suggest the best medication or doctors consult on the basis of the detected disease.
Developments in Reproduction Strategy
With the help of machine learning algorithms, we can predict the chances of miscarriage or early birth.
Measuring Healthcare Quality
NLP allows the patients to analyze the physician’s performance and to keep a track of their health so that they can decide whether the treatment is fruitful of not i.e. it measures the quality of the healthcare.
Diagnosis of Mental Illness
Detection and treatment of mental illness have always been a real challenge for the healthcare industry. By using AI machine learning algorithms and NLP, it’s now possible to detect mental illness with the help of MRI and find a cure for it.
The convergence of emerging technologies with AI in Healthcare
Artificial Intelligence (AI) undoubtedly has a great scope of transforming the healthcare industry by its new and innovative solutions. But there are places at which it’s not up to the mark such as security and data breaches. The ideal solution would be the combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with other emerging technologies. For instance, Blockchain can be integrated with AI to build a platform that is tamper-proof as Blockchain is a distributed ledger-based on cryptography. Similarly, the Internet of Things (IoT) can also be merged with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to introduce better and smarter solutions.
Moreover, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots that follow Machine Learning algorithms have already been introduced to the world of healthcare. They can diagnose and treat people at any location such as homes, workplaces, hospitals or clinics. This convergence will evolve with time and establish itself on a global scale with better health outcomes and meeting our daily health needs. This convergence is bringing a change in the value of the existing healthcare methods by introducing new solutions to treat people having long-term chronic diseases with the help of digital, wireless and fast devices.
What are the challenges of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare?
Patient privacy and the ethics of data ownership
The patient’s data is at the stake of being exploited by cyber-attacks. AI doesn’t guarantee to keep it safe as it’s not tamper-proof. It is one of the major challenges faced by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Quality and usability of data
There is no credibility of the patient data and no set parameters to evaluate the doctor’s performance.
Streamlining and standardization of medical records is another challenge faced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. How can a computer understand the scribbling of the doctor when the patient itself can’t?
Misconceptions and over-hyping
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has misconceptions associated with it such as while using Machine Learning and deep learning for radiology, you can feed the computer with thousands of images without underlying bias which is not true. The power of AI must be harnessed in a strategic way.
No matter how advanced or accurate technology is, humans can never rely on it with their lives. For instance, a small mistake during surgery can take one’s life away and machines are not the best choice to opt for the surgery. Hence, AI faces human rejection.
The future outlook for AI in the Healthcare Industry
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasing the learning capacity and providing systems that help in decision-making to transform the future of healthcare. It is finding its application in disease diagnosis, treatment optimization, result prediction, drug development, and public health along with reducing the cost and the time consumed which seems to be a reason good enough why tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Uber, Alphabet are entering the healthcare industry.
Why Apple is moving into healthcare?
Apple has several reasons for entering the healthcare sector but one of the key reasons is to set its products apart from its competitors and achieve its goals which include:
- Selling hardware with high margin,
- Switching from its ecosystems by increasing the cost, and
- Expanding its service offerings.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) came as a revolutionary technology and it has been making our lives simpler ever since it came into existence. It can’t replace doctors for sure, but it can change and enhance their work. We can save a lot of money and our valuable time by adapting to NLP and Machine Learning algorithms. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will transform as well as redefine the conventional methods of treatment for the healthcare industry.