How are AI and ML bringing a Healing Touch to Healthcare

by March 19, 2019

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an incredible technology that has caused a disruption with its rapid growth and development in recent decades.  AI technology has been applied to nearly all areas of life that involve technology including healthcare.

Artificial intelligence’s transformative power has encapsulated many industries, with healthcare being a domain where AI promises to hold a truly life-changing impact. The revolutionary disruption of AI can be seen everywhere, from clinical research, drug development to hospital care and insurance. AI applications have revolutionized how the health sector works to improve patient outcomes and reduce spending.

Technology has woken up to the potential healthcare holds, and the invested amount into healthcare has been stunning. According to some estimates, the overall investment is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021. Technology will lead to huge savings; Accenture has predicted that the top AI applications may result in annual savings of $150 billion by 2026.

AI has risen to hold the mammoth potential to help the healthcare industry bolster accessibility, cut costs, and improve treatment in tandem. Here is how technology in healthcare can lead to a disruptive impact-


•  Making Accurate Predictions

About 10 percent of patient deaths is caused by the errors in diagnosis. Technology can be a boom where predictive analytics can help to diagnose ailments at an early stage and reduce patient deaths.


•  Virtual Nursing assistants

Technology enables virtual nursing assistants to be deployed to allow for more regular communication between patients and healthcare providers. This can help to prevent unnecessary hospital visits or readmission and used to answer the patient’s questions and provide quick answers in addition to monitoring the patient’s condition.


•  Expanding healthcare access to underserved regions

There are shortages of trained healthcare providers, especially specialists such as radiologists in many regions. AI and ML could help to take over this backlog by deploying bots to serve underserved regions.


•  Artificially intelligent devices and machines

Smart devices which dominated the consumer field have made their mark into the healthcare industry as well. These smart devices have become very important to monitor patients, enhancing the ability of healthcare providers to identify areas where the patient needs urgent medication.

AI is steadily making its way to improve the healthcare industry. While technology will never fully replace the trust and compassion that comes from a human physician, it has the potential to positively transform the accessibility, efficiency and accuracy of healthcare services. Here is the potential application of technology impacting the healthcare healing process.


1. Spotting brain tumours –MICROSOFT

Doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge have collaborated with the tech giant Microsoft to train machine learning algorithms find and point to brain tumours in 3-D magnetic-resonance-imaging (MRI) scans.

By training the systems on MRI scans of the points where the tumours have been highlighted, they can pick out high-grade gliomas. These are tumours of the glial tissue within neurons in the brain, spotted with a reasonable degree of accuracy.


2. Detecting eye disease – GOOGLE DEEPMIND

Google’s DeepMind has partnered with Moorfields Eye Hospital to train AI to scan images of patients’ retinas for any potential eye disease by first highlighting the potential anomalies in scans, and then making treatment recommendations.


3. Drone deliveries to Hospitals

The NHS or the National Health Service inspired by work done by companies like Matternet and Zipline to deliver blood and pathology specimens between hospitals using drones, is also looking into trialing drone deliveries between hospitals.


4. Highlighting Lung Diseases – OPTELLUM

Optellum defines the early interception of lung disease by empowering clinician stationed at every hospital to manage their patients in an optimal way. Optellum was established by machine learning and clinical experts meeting at Oxford University’s computer vision lab. The company is programmed to analyse CT scans of nodules present in the lung to assist doctors spot lung disease signs.


5. Analyzing brain scans of stroke victims – VIZ.AI offers a system where doctors and engineers deploy artificial intelligence to synchronize stroke care to improve access to life-saving therapies.


AI and ML Adoption in Healthcare: The Road Ahead

While the evidence of potential benefits of AI applications in healthcare surpasses the expenses involved, there exist a number of challenges to widespread adoption and implementations of these tools.

Healthcare industry will benefit from technology only when it shifts the routine and mundane tasks to robots thus enabling patients to self-service their medical care needs with the help of technology.  Healthcare providers need to deploy algorithms and ascertain the clinical validation of it. It is still some years that the medical industry will be skeptical about adopting AI tools until a large body of proof verifies their outcomes.