By Shivrat Chhabra, CEO, Dosis.
Now more than ever, the healthcare industry is leveraging new technologies to provide patients with improved, innovative care. The innovation attracting the most buzz in the healthcare industry today is artificial intelligence (AI). However, despite the ongoing hype of robots and algorithms as industry game-changers, results to date from early applications of AI in healthcare have fallen short of realizing dreams of sweeping improvements.
IBM’s Watson is an excellent example of how these improvements “in healthcare” will require a more step-by-step approach and may take longer to achieve than initially thought. In 2011, Watson garnered worldwide attention by winning a game of Jeopardy against two of the show’s greatest champions. Within healthcare, Watson’s win gave rise to hope that AI was on the precipice of full-scale deployment that would transform the industry and dramatically improve patient outcomes.
For several reasons, that hasn’t quite happened yet, and Watson has found it challenging to deliver improved patient outcomes. While those critical of AI have been quick to jump on these struggles, it’s crucial to acknowledge that Watson suffers from several common obstacles faced by AI in healthcare. These include the lack of high-quality data that can be used to train an algorithm, the low number of available training cases, implicit bias, and the differences in guidelines between the U.S. and other countries.
However, as the industry collectively works to address these issues, I envision three major areas where AI will soon transform personalized medicine.
Individualizing the patient-clinician relationship
Clinicians are already equipping themselves to better serve their patients with the predictive and organizational benefits of AI. This technology will move the field away from a “one-size fits all” approach and make the clinician-patient relationship more individualized, fostering trust.
This would be no small feat for improving the patient-clinician relationship, especially for those suffering from chronic conditions. A study by West Corporation in 2018 found that only 12 percent of chronic condition patients feel strongly that their provider is doing a good job of delivering information specific to their needs and condition.
When a clinician provides patients with unique, individualized solutions, patients feel empowered and are more comfortable speaking up throughout the treatment process. When a patient is comfortable enough to report symptoms, no matter how trivial they may seem, personalized medicine thrives.
With the help of AI, clinicians can search extensive amounts of information to find the causes of patient-reported symptoms and alter patient care accordingly. These improvements can be referenced by other clinicians and lead to large-scale medical breakthroughs.