Among all the industries set to be impacted by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the healthcare sector stands to benefit the most.
In fact, in a report made by a consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, it was stated that the healthcare AI market is estimated to experience a compound annual growth rate of 40% through 2021.
It is mainly because technologies like Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI are capable of improving health care outcomes by 30 to 40% while simultaneously reducing the costs of treatment in half.
As per Accenture’s reports, AI applications can create yearly savings of $150 billion by 2026 for US healthcare.
These innovative technologies are typically used in healthcare to handle the complexity and growth of medical data. The benefits offered by AI and machine learning include automated disease diagnosis, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, personalization of treatment pathways, helping patients in real-time, advancement in treatments, and cutting costs. And these are only a few.
Let’s take a look at how AI and machine learning impact the healthcare industry.
1. Improved Automated Disease Diagnosis
The medical industry is already using AI to improve medical diagnosis. For instance, the Beijing-based artificial intelligence high-tech company is using AI aided medical image diagnosis to improve reading CT scans and x-rays. Read more about Beijing-based Inversion here.
Stanford University researchers have created an AI algorithm that can spot and diagnose skin cancer. Also, Google has created an AI program to detect metastasis using high-level image recognition. The company claims 99% accuracy in metastatic breast cancer detection.
Moreover, since AI can analyze large volumes of data, it can detect disease and helps with clinical decisions.
2. Maintaining Wellness
Using AI in consumer health applications is helping people stay healthy. People don’t need a doctor as often as they used to before. Some apps encourage healthier behavior in individuals and assist in proactively managing a healthy lifestyle.
For instance, apps like MyFitnessPal can help you to track your diet programs through a database that offers nutrition information for more than 5 million foods.
Furthermore, AI helps healthcare professionals to understand the everyday patterns and needs of the patients better. They are also able to provide better feedback, direction, and support for staying healthy.
3. Personalizing Treatment
Not all patients respond to drugs and treatment schedules in the same manner, so personalized treatment is very beneficial. However, it is difficult to identify which factors should affect the choice of treatment. This is where machine learning comes in.
Machine Learning can simplify complicated statistical work. It can help determine which characteristics indicate that a patient or a group of patients will have an appropriate response to a specific treatment.
Machine learning does this by cross-referencing similar patients and comparing their treatments and outcomes, making it much easier for doctors to design the right treatment plan.
Also, as per a new study by the Cleveland Clinic, artificial intelligence and machine learning networks can personalize radiation therapy for lung cancer. AI can learn from imaging and electronic health records. It can predict if an individual patient could fail radiation treatments, thus individualizing radiotherapy treatments for patients with lung cancers.
Yet in another study made by the Institute of Cancer Research, scientists with the help of artificial intelligence have spotted patterns in breast cancer and exposed five new types of the disease each matched to different personalized treatments.
4. Helping Patients in Real-Time
Innovative and advanced healthcare Bots today can learn and mimic human conversations, detect emotions that allow empathetic engagement with patients, incorporate Natural Language Processing, sentiment analysis, and concept mining into chat scripts, and recognize the intricate image to analyze photos, handwritten notes, and barcodes. It is not only about sending messages.
However, the primary reason why healthcare bots exist is to help patients quickly and in real-time simply by sending a message, making it great for emergencies.
It can even assist patients in managing medications by offering information on types of medications and recommended doses.
For instance, the Microsoft Healthcare Bot service helps healthcare organizations to build and set up an AI-powered, compliant, conversational healthcare experience.
It is suitable for healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, telemedicine providers, and health insurers. The Health Bot Service contains built-in scenarios including symptom checker; general information about conditions, symptoms, causes, complications, and more; find doctor type; health plan inquiries; finding providers, and scheduling appointments.
5. Advancement in Treatments
With the help of AI, new treatment methods are being generated and introduced, including robotic surgery. In 2018, over 5,000 surgical robots were used in over 1 million procedures across the world. And the procedures encompassed orthopedics, urology, gynecology, neurology, otolaryngology, rectal and colon, dental implants, hair transplants and more.
AI is also used for diabetes management. And a Boston-based Bionic Pancreas that uses machine learning has been introduced to aid adults and children with type 1 diabetes. Read more about the device here.
Furthermore, wound healing by printing skin cells, 3D printing of human body parts and blood vessel reproduction are all made possible through AI.
6. Reduce Costs
Health Policy Brief noticed that in 2012, $300 billion was being spent on pointless healthcare costs. The costs were associated with fraud, waste, and abuse; absence of or low value-added work; and no collaboration between stakeholders.
As per Frost & Sullivan reports, AI can improve outcomes by 30- 40% and reduce the cost of treatment by as much as 50%. When there is an improvement in precision and efficiency, there will be fewer human errors. There will be a decrease in doctor visits. Moreover, doctors can obtain information from data for patients who are at risk of certain diseases to avert hospital readmissions.
If you look at the bigger scenario, as per Healthcare IT news, potential cost savings in AI applications in billions of dollars are shown as below:
Machine learning and AI have the potential to drastically change the cost and quality curve in healthcare.
7. Winding Up
AI is the game-changer in the healthcare industry. It has changed the role of the doctors and even the role of the patients. It has transformed how diseases are detected and diagnosed, how treatments are offered, helped discover new treatment methods, and it saves time and cost as well.
No doubt, challenges are being faced by AI and machine learning in the healthcare industry, but it is ever-growing and expanding. It has become an inherent part of medical care in many parts of the world.
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