Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize all fields, and healthcare isn’t exempted.
This technology, which involves machine and deep learning, enables computers to gain the capacity to better understand and process complex forms of data. Essentially, they would have the ability to learn through examples.
When implemented correctly, it’s a development that comes with many possibilities, especially in a data-driven field like healthcare. Machine learning has the potential to improve patient care, provide faster service and diagnoses, and generally provide a better experience for both healthcare providers and patients.
Anyone involved in healthcare (which basically means everyone) can stand to gain from learning more about how AI might affect the industry.
So whether you’re a healthcare professional gearing up to advance in your career or if you’re a mom researching the benefits of taking a prenatal vitamin, read on.
- Streamlining administrative tasks
Probably one of the first things that comes to mind when people think about AI applications is automation.
If you’ve spent any time in hospitals and clinics, you would know that doctors and nurses spend a lot of time on administrative tasks. With automation, healthcare professionals will have more time to focus on the bigger picture.
Some possible applications include using voice-to-text transcriptions to order tests, prescribe medicine, and even to write chart notes. The technology could also be used to improve clinical workflows, shorten time before treatment, and enhance patient outcomes.
With enough data, AI can even streamline the diagnosis process.
- Revolutionizing data processing
Day in and day out, healthcare providers collect massive amounts of data: genetic data, causes of death and health conditions, among others.
To make sense of all this, artificial intelligence can help make analyses and interpretations, identify insights and patterns, and provide suggestions. This will greatly help in making clinical, financial, and operational decisions in the healthcare setting.
For example, IBM has partnered with Cleveland Clinic to analyze thousands of medical papers using natural language processing. This allows physicians to recommend treatment plans that are personalized and more efficient.
Another way machine learning is used to improve healthcare is image analysis. In fact, an MIT-led research team has developed an algorithm that can compare 3-D scans in near real-time. This provides critical input for surgeons while operating and can greatly improve radiology tools.
- Providing assistance virtually
If there’s one thing artificial intelligence can do, it’s allowing people to get the right information at the right time.
In the healthcare industry, this functionality also comes in the form of virtual health assistants (VHA). These helpful AI-powered bots can give treatment advice on common medical conditions or even provide recipes for certain diets.
They can also monitor patients, which enables them to give timely reminders for prescription pills and recommendations for health screenings. VHAs can also act as your personal health coach. For example, the Virta Health app helps patients with diabetes by reminding them to enter data about their glucose levels, blood pressure, mood, and other metrics that might help them manage their condition.
These are just some of the many benefits AI could bring to the medical industry. There are still some hurdles to overcome, implications to discuss, and ethics to consider, but it can’t be denied that this technology has a lot of potential to improve healthcare in a myriad of ways.