Artificial Intelligence or AI sounds very technical and scientific, futuristic even, to the ears of ordinary people. We see this thing mostly in sci-fi movies and sometimes in the news where new and intelligent robots newly invented or created are being featured. These scientific developments on AI often make one ask where and how these things can be useful. Or if Artificial Intelligence is solely about making smarter robots.
What is AI?
By textbook definition, AI is a sub-field of computer science. Its goal is to enable the development of computers that are able to do things normally done by people — in particular, things associated with people acting intelligently. AI, however, is divided into three camps where the goals differ through the AI system advancement the machine is running with. With weak AI, machines definitely do not take on the same level of intelligence as that of humans. The goal is limited to just getting the job done by the machine. Another AI camp refers to the developments that simulate some basic forms of human intelligence but not targeted at total imitation. For those developers and scientists whose goal is to run systems that do not only think like humans but simulate human cognition as well, and that is the strong AI. This system has no successful model yet that has very much closely imitated the human mind.
AI is advantageous in many different sectors. Some studies have shown its potential benefits not just in technology, but also in education and the business sector. Additionally, AI has proven to provide massive impact if the healthcare industry.
As to everyone’s knowledge, healthcare relies on more than just tips and tricks. More and more researches and advancements in technology are needed to improve it to be able to better cater to the varying healthcare needs of the people. And the integration of artificial intelligence has provided a solutions to problems and needs of patients, people in the medical profession, and the whole of the healthcare industry. The list below shows five ways AI has influenced the healthcare industry.
This is one of the most recognizable technology incorporating artificial intelligence. Virtual assistance is already commonplace, and in fact, its best example would be Apple’s Siri. In the past, people would need to go to the doctor to be able to define their medical condition through their symptoms. And for many who have no access and/or means to see one, they most likely revert to self- assessment, diagnosis, and medication. Thanks to AI, several apps are already available today to help a patient understand their symptoms, and the system provides accurate answers to their medical condition. Two of these examples are the following:
Medical information given out to its users have been verified and approved by UK’s Health Service (NHS). This means that its users can be assured that they are given authentic and reliable medical information. The app, with its big network of information used to link the symptoms to the medical condition of its user, provides ways to remedy the illness of the user. Additionally, it warns the user when there is a need to see a doctor.
This health assistant follows up on the user regarding his or her previously reported symptoms. When there is a need for the user to see a doctor, the app sets up a live video with a real doctor.
Analysis and Diagnosis
In the past, cancer is usually confirmed after tissues are sent to the laboratory for analysis. This step will determine whether or not a patient has cancer and its severity. Today, early diagnosis can be done, prior to laboratory testing, with AI integrated machines. A machine with this technology is being used in hospitals to give a better CT scan and x-ray results and reading. The high-tech machine from Inferversion is able to detect suspicious lesions and nodules. This way, doctors are able to give early detection to lung cancer patients, thus treatment is started early which leaves a better chance at recovery.
AI has opened advancements in healthcare treatments for a patient, in monitoring the treatment, and in providing better treatment plans for them. AiCure, an app that helps patient take their medications on time, adhere to the doctor’s advice, and stick to other treatment routines.
In Florida Community Hospital, IBM’s Watson for Oncology will be used to provide cancer care teams with effective treatment plans and options, and effective therapies. The AI platform has an advanced ability to analyze structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports. The Medical Sieve, another AI algorithm launched by IBM, is a cognitive health assistant used in radiology and cardiology. It has the ability to analyze radiology images and detect abnormalities, and detect problems much faster.
Reduced Costs of Treatment
According to Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting organization, AI has the potential to reduce treatment costs by as much as 50%. AI technology reduces the risk for human errors in the detection and analysis of a patient’s medical condition, which in turn reduces the frequency of visits to the doctor. On the other hand, its efficient early disease detection also helps in reducing chances of longer hospitalization, as doctors will be able to recommend alternative treatment routes to the patient.
In so many ways, advancements in AI have opened tremendous improvements in the healthcare industry. It not only helps ease the work of doctors and medical staff, but the lives of patients as well. Although the AI still poses risks, as the technology has not yet achieved perfection, the benefits outweigh the risks immeasurably. We can be hopeful that in the future, through the advancements in the AI technology, communities in remote areas that have very little to no access to any healthcare facility will be able to gain also from its benefits.