How AI Can Augment Healthcare
Advancing technologies that include artificial intelligence are disrupting healthcare with amazing speed. AI in healthcare is bringing exciting innovations that are improving medical care on a global level. There are several specific ways artificial intelligence can augment the healthcare industry.
Radiology is a particular field that is experiencing rapid development with the use of artificial intelligence and deep learning. One way this will aid medical practitioners is when medical images are combined with other information such as lab results. When this occurs, algorithms can extract genetic information from the images without prior access to the genetics of a particular patient. There are several ways that AI in healthcare is improving radiology workflows.
- AI can produce imaging biobanks. This includes the constantly growing memory capacity in computers to store massive amounts of data. Imaging from several institutions can predict the risk of disease and study various treatment options.
- AI can help reduce delays in the time it takes radiologists to read, interpret and report scans.
- AI can improve collaboration and enable teams of clinicians to more easily read images, discuss results and speed up decision-making.
- AI can prioritize and automate data to increase overall productivity.
Managing Data in Electronic Health Records
Widespread use in recent years of electronic health records (EHR) has led to the collection of large amounts of data. Because of the massive amount, as well as the complexity of clinical data, medical professionals and healthcare organizations are increasingly depending on artificial intelligence to effectively manage and use this data.
Artificial intelligence can data mine extensive amounts of data found in EHR to gather information regarding certain diseases or conditions. Researchers can learn from the data who is more susceptible to particular diseases and what these individuals may have in common. It could possibly take years for clinicians to go through and study each of these records individually. Another way AI can use EHR is for predictive analysis. Predictive analysis can show different options and potential outcomes that can help a physician make decisions regarding treatment.
Advancing Cancer Treatment
AI in healthcare can improve the use of immunotherapy in the treatment of certain cancers. Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to attack malignant tumors. Currently, this type of treatment only works for a small percentage of patients. Oncologists also aren’t sure why some patients respond to this treatment or how to precisely identify these particular patients. Machine learning, using algorithms to synthesize complex data sets, is working to provide new options for matching successful therapies to a person’s unique genetic code.
There are several other ways artificial intelligence is working to improve cancer outcomes. AI in healthcare can help doctors precisely target radiation treatment so a patient will need as little radiation during treatment as possible. Artificial intelligence is also helping rule out false negatives and positives, improving lung cancer screening, and providing clinicians with the tools to create personalized cancer treatment for each individual.
Reducing Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem globally as the overuse and misuse of these crucial medications continues. After training algorithms to predict toxicity in certain compounds, researchers let the algorithms vet over 6,000 compounds for information and potential use. This enables scientists to discover new properties in compounds. This, in turn, can lead to artificial intelligence designing new antibiotics.
This method is basically repurposing compounds or drugs we already have. A primary advantage of this process is that many of these compounds have already gone through the FDA approval process. Using AI in this capacity can not only discover or recreate new drugs but exponentially speed up the process.
Turning Smartphones Into Diagnostic Tools
Most people now have access to a smartphone. AI in healthcare can take images from a basic smartphone and turn them into diagnostic tools. With cellphone camera quality increasing each year, most phones can provide images that artificial intelligence can effectively use for analysis. Ophthalmology and dermatology are two areas that can particularly benefit from this technology.
Scientists in the UK are developing a tool that can identify developmental diseases in children by analyzing facial images. The technology can detect things such as a child’s eye placement and distinctions on the jawline. These distinctions may indicate that a child has a craniofacial abnormality. There are potentially 90 disorders that this tool can match images with and then provide decision-making support.
Monitoring Personal Devices
Many individuals now wear devices that collect data about specific health conditions. Smartphones can track how many steps you take in a day, and wearables can monitor how many times your heart beats each minute. Personal devices, along with artificial intelligence, can gather and analyze several types of health-related data.
This data can provide specific health information and enable individuals to make better medical choices regarding their health. Hospitals and researchers can also use data from thousands of individuals to study health trends in large populations.
Expanding Access to Developing Areas
Many areas in the world are resource-poor and sometimes lacking even the most basic medical care. AI in healthcare can help people in remote areas receive high-quality healthcare more quickly. Both smartphones and personal devices can help those in remote areas receive better healthcare. But there is even more AI in healthcare can do to expand care to these locations.
- Creating electronic immunization databases — Data from machine learning can predict vaccine needs several months in advance in developing countries. The predictions can bridge supply and demand and reduce waste. Accurate forecasting reduces costs and creates efficient use of limited resources.
- Improving rural medical care— A shortage of healthcare providers is one of the primary obstacles to receiving quality care in rural and undeveloped areas. Artificial intelligence can provide computer systems with diagnostic capabilities. Setting up mobile stations and internet healthcare facilities is a way telemedicine can reach people in remote areas.
These examples are just the start of how artificial intelligence can improve and expand our current healthcare system. AI in healthcare can improve outcomes and provide increasing equity in medical care on a global scale.