Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a large part of our lives on a regular basis, and its presence in healthcare will only add to the list of how technology has made life easier.
In the healthcare industry, the road to AI adoption can be bumpy, thanks to regulatory and compliance issues. But the effort is often worthwhile for physicians. Here are some of the ways that AI has been helping doctors.
Easily Monitor Patient Health
AI technology, such as consumer health applications like Youper, an app that uses AI to create empathetic and compassionate interactions as well as mindfulness activities for those who suffer from mental illnesses, helps patients stay on top of their own well-being. These types of apps keep patients healthy with proactive care so that they do not need to go see a doctor as often, which frees up time for more critical health cases.
Overall, this approach to healthcare gives patients more control over their own wellness, while also providing doctors with valuable data on the daily health habits of their patients, which will lead to better care. This form of technology also helps to generate a more accurate patient-record summary. Doctors can then get a better sense of each patient’s particular health experience.
Remote monitoring health tools have also been incredibly helpful while managing conditions in their early stages. If a patient has an ailment like heart disease, their doctor can easily detect whether they are experiencing potentially fatal incidents at an earlier stage, which improves the success of treatment.
AI has helped engineers create an application that monitors Parkinson’s disease in patients. These patients undergo two-and-a-half-minute tests throughout the day that involve speaking, walking, and tapping. Physicians are then able to observe how their patient’s symptoms fluctuate all through the day. Having a source of information on their patient’s disease progression would not be possible without the innovative use of AI.
Detect Diseases Early On
AI has been very successful with the early detection of various diseases, such as cancer. Radiology results have long presented a challenge to healthcare providers for two key reasons:
- Accuracy: Misread scans can result in false positives, misdiagnoses, or false negatives, all of which can result in poorer patient outcomes.
- Accessibility: There's no easy way to share scans among physicians. Patients carry CDs from doctor to doctor--an improvement over carrying actual x-ray film, but still very inefficient.
The issue of accessibility can be solved by emerging technology like the Medicai app, but accuracy remains a challenge. For example, while doctors have found that mammograms save many lives, there is a percentage of healthy women that are being told they have cancer due to many mammograms yielding false results. For each breast cancer death prevented, three to four women are overdiagnosed.
By using a tool like AI, data can be reviewed at a faster rate with greater accuracy, which lessens uncalled-for biopsies. With experts making great strides in using AI for more accurate radiology readings, mammograms can be read with 99% accuracy. Another example of this can be seen in research performed by New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where it was found that their machine learning technology was capable of reading radiologist reports with 91% accuracy.
Diagnosing and Analyzing
Without the use of AI, completing an accurate review of an abundance of data would be close to impossible for the average physician. Cognitive technology achievements, such as IBM Watson for Health, have helped in building an intelligent health ecosystem for Big Data analysis. IBM Watson works with physicians to achieve swift results, better care, and easier methods of doing so.
Another health technology helper is Google’s DeepMind Health. With the cooperation of researchers, physicians, and patients, many healthcare challenges have been overcome through this process that mimics the human brain. Some of these obstacles include predicting the likelihood of patients developing specific conditions, such as eye disease and kidney disease.
Misdiagnoses are an unfortunate reality in the healthcare system. Around eight million children are diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality each year, but many are not diagnosed until later due to common DNA tests only looking for only 20 of the 6,000 genetic disorders possible. By using AI, a reduction of misdiagnoses is guaranteed. While trusting a human with mass amounts of data is risky, plugging in information to various technology systems will equip physicians with accurate results at a quick rate.
A large part of AI is the accurate analysis that it is able to conduct. The California Biomedical Research Association stated that it takes around 12 years for a drug to get from the research process and into the hands of a patient. And out of the 5,000 drugs that go into preclinical testing, only five make it to human testing. Out of the five that make it to human testing, only one will be approved for human usage. The average cost a company pays for this process is over a billion dollars. This method is painstaking, long, and not cost-efficient.
AI has the means to expedite this process and get drugs to the patients in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost. This benefits doctors who work with patients with rare conditions. With faster drug discovery, more clinical trials and treatment options will become available.
Improve Decision Making and Treatment Plans
Predictive analytics are essential when trying to improve overall care. This data can be used to support medical decisions in a timely manner while also helping to prioritize any administrative tasks. AI provides physicians with pattern recognition data on their patients, which helps in prevention and diagnosis. Doctors can be confident in their decision-making because they do not have to doubt the information they receive from this intelligent, algorithm-driven technology.
Doctors should be spending more time with patients and less time analyzing MRI images, a skill that AI has mastered. Researchers have developed algorithms that can spot any abnormalities in X-rays, just as a radiologist would be able to do.
AI has also been an invaluable resource when doctors are dealing with patient treatment. This is due to the technology’s ability to organize care plans that encourage patients to go along with their condition management. Physicians can then focus more of their time on other pressing matters.
Training has been easier to manage with AI’s naturalistic simulations. These allow trainees to experience an extremely realistic and accurate representation of how a real-life situation would play out. An AI-powered training system can use natural speech and reference an extensive database of scenarios to challenge a trainee’s skills and knowledge. This better prepares doctors for future medical incidents. This training can also be completed on any smart device, which gives trainees more time to review challenging lessons.
An example of this new method of training was recently used by medical students who were confined in their homes during the pandemic. Virti, a mixed-reality training tools developer, allows physicians and students to interact with AI-powered ‘patients.’ This life-like program can be accessed through a desktop computer, tablet, or virtual reality headset.
A large part of growing older is dealing with various health issues. Monitoring health conditions has never been easier with recent technological advancements. Older patients are able to retain their independence by using AI tools that can help monitor their health conditions. Even more advancements have been made in the world of AI, with humanoid designs being produced that can interact socially with these older patients and help them stay cognitively strong.
Let AI Help
AI is not here to replace physician care, but to improve it. AI, after all, would not be possible without the help of physicians. Embracing new technology in the past has proven to be advantageous, and this technological development is no different. Allowing a computer to take part in your care may be daunting to start, but the extensive benefits will soon settle any prior misgivings.
Want to learn more about how technology can support your growing practice? Check out our latest guide, Future of A.I. in Healthcare. It offers insights on top challenges, emerging trends, and much more.