1) Early detection and more effective radiology treatment
Artificial intelligence has been used in the medical world for decades. Most diagnostic processes for cancer detection rely heavily on a physical tissue sample for testing. Although images generated by the famous x-rays and MRIs can give a non-invasive look into the body, they cannot positively identify whether a mass is cancerous or not.
Tissue sampling is effective, but it has its drawbacks. Having to physically take a sample from the patient’s body means risking infection for someone whose immune system is already compromised. AI machinery in widely used radiology tools is starting to replace the need for tissue samples.
Think about it this way – a computer can sift through all known symptoms and qualities of a potentially cancerous tumor and determine whether the mass is benign or malignant in a matter of seconds. This process can take humans hours, even days to positively identify a tumor, depending on the complexity of the mass.
2) Better care for developing countries
Developing nations throughout the world are in dire need for adequate healthcare options. AI is poised to play a critical role in detection of common illnesses and prevention of a variety of diseases. In many cases, AI machinery can actually stand in for human diagnostic tests for diseases like tuberculosis. With fantastic precision, an AI imaging tool can screen x-rays and tell a patient if they are negative or positive for the disease.
AI is bringing a high standard of life-saving care to countries that do not yet have advanced technology to diagnose even the most common diseases. Healthcare professionals in the developing world are in short supply. AI technology will make it so less fortunate countries can have an increased access to better healthcare.
3) At home medical care (decreasing crowding in hospitals and urgent care offices)
Wearable AI devices are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to manage self health. Companies like FitBit or even the smart health features in an Apple Watch have made great strides in helping people take care of themselves. This burst of wearable health tech is ultimately creating a healthier and more active generation.
Step trackers, smart calorie counters that update based on exercise, and automated heart rate data are just the beginning. Smartphones are becoming a unique tool in clinical imaging. For example, many dermatological conditions such as acne or contact dermatitis can be diagnosed with a simple visual screening. This way, instead of making an appointment with a dermatologist to positively identify any skin issues, an AI system can compare your photo with a database of similar photos.
4) More effective training techniques and research
Those in training to become a healthcare professional are better challenged by AI tech. Medical exercises can be continually adjusted for difficulty once the student advances. Medical students will go through more natural simulations, better preparing them for actual situations that arise when they become doctors or surgeons.
Drug testing will become more streamlined with the application of AI technology. AI will be able to cut down time between drug discovery to patient. By accessing an ever-growing database of information regarding past drug applications and research, AI can run through a series of virtual tests in seconds where it might take human researchers hours to complete.
5) Smarter devices
Machines made to replicate human motions have been around for a long time, but they are just now beginning to gain traction in clinical testing and human trials. From smartphones to smart refrigerators, there is no doubt that intelligent devices are taking over the consumer world, and for good reason.
In the medical field, smart machinery has been used for over 3 decades. Some smart devices can even be programmed to complete tasks on their own without human intervention. Complex surgical robots can aid human surgeons in operations. One helpful application of AI devices is in the emergency field, where smart medical monitoring machines are used to track patient vitals and alert doctors when these vitals change drastically.
Victoria Liset is strategic business & technology consultant to SMEs. She helps businesses improve their performance by using data more efficiently, and helping them to understand the implications of new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Big data, blockchain and IoT.