Healthcare is one of the few industries which are defined by innovation and technological growth. The healthcare industry manages to innovate on a regular basis despite facing restrictions by the government.
Now, the question arises whether the healthcare industry can adopt AI as the new technological innovation. There are already foundations of AI in place, we just need to overcome some technological and psychological challenges.
Rise of Artificial Intelligence
A senior data scientist at a leading healthcare company, Andy Schuetz recently stated, “I have no doubt that sophisticated learning and AI algorithms will find a place in health care over the coming years I don’t know if it’s two years or 10 — but it’s coming.”
One can indeed, not deny that the innovations occurring in the field is mindblowing. There are still a few technological, psychological and regulatory hurdles that need to be jumped over.
Before we discuss the role of AI in healthcare in the future and when the next big thing in healthcare AI will occur, we first need to explore current trends in AI and technological limitations which is holding AI back.
Significant technological limitations
The term AI or Artificial Intelligence is loosely thrown around and it can be used to refer to a broad range of topics which includes an assortment of machine learning methods. For Artificial Intelligence to truly make an effect on the Healthcare industry, we need to reach ANI i.e. Artificial Narrow Intelligence.
Artificial Narrow Intelligence aims at doing significantly complex tasks better than humans rather than completing basic tasks. For example, in 2011 IBM’s AI Watson competed in a game show in the United States called Jeopardy where contestants are given answers and they have to tell the questions. This requires the kind of thinking that any AI can’t achieve easily. However, Watson bagged the first place on the game show. Similarly, when researchers are successfully able to practically use ANI for healthcare purposes, everything will start falling into place.
Convenience and savings will drive innovation
Why should Artificial Intelligence be adopted into healthcare? Apart from some computers being smarter than humans, there are two main factors due to which Artificial Intelligence can replace humans i.e. Convenience and Savings. Everyone in the healthcare industry from doctors to patients want to get more convenient and spend less money and Artificial Intelligence can provide just that. Only those AI companies will prosper who can provide a well balance of both convenience and savings to the healthcare industry.
A great example of convenience and savings in AI is iCliniq. It is a company which is using Artificial Intelligence to lower costs and increase convenience in the healthcare industry. iCliniq is an online portal which provides patients access to 2500+ doctors from 800+ specialities from the comfort of their home. And how does it manage to do that? Artificial Intelligence it is! iCliniq uses chatbots for interacting with patients and referring them to a doctor whenever needed. This drastically reduces the consultation costs and increases convenience for the doctors all around the world.
As long as Artificial Intelligence companies in the field of healthcare focus on increased convenience and reduced costs, there will be a better percentage of acceptance in the healthcare industry regarding Artificial Intelligence. This will force the leaders in healthcare to adopt Artificial Intelligence and the government to make regulations to accommodate Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare industry.
Money isn’t the real problem
Although there are a lot of startups and small sized companies with leaders that are not well connected throughout the industry which have trouble in acquiring funding. Generally speaking, there isn’t a problem with funding for most companies in the Artificial Intelligence sector. Everyone from angel investors to tech giants like Google, IBM, Philips and healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are spending billions of dollars to fund startups in the AI space. According to reports the Artificial Intelligence market in the field of healthcare and life sciences is about to grow by more than forty percent every year to reach more than $6.6 billion by the year 2021. This shows that money isn’t a boundary now a days for startups and small companies to start innovating in the AI space.
Early applications emphasize diagnoses
AI can go in dozens of different directions, but when you look at the present landscape, a few trends stand out.
Artificial Intelligence has a lot of different kinds of applications in the healthcare industry. But if you look at the present landscape, there are a few areas where Artificial Intelligence are more widely accepted and innovated in.
A healthcare consultant at DoctorSpring Group, Dr, Jaydeep Tripathy explains:-
“The sweet spot in health care AI has been pairing algorithms with structured exercises in reading patient data and medical images to train machines to detect abnormalities. This training is called ‘deep learning. In the same way, algorithms are being used to sift through vast amounts of medical literature to inform treatment decisions in which it would be too difficult a task to have a human read through the same journals.”
This shows that presently, Artificial Intelligence is used more in the diagnostics of patients. A great example of a company that’s successful in this area is MedyMatch. The company strives to increase accuracy of physicians and bring capacity to healthcare which can help in preventing chronic diseases and make patient outcomes better by giving them correct treatment at the right time.
MedyMatch is able to do just that by making Artificial Intelligence supported diagnostic tools which use technologies like 3D printing, machine learning and patient data to deliver accurate results which is useful for medical teams to treat the patients more effectively in a shorter amount of time.
There soon won’t be any field in which Artificial Intelligence isn’t prominently used. Healthcare industry is a prime example of that. A future where Artificial Intelligence is used to provide convenient and cost effective healthcare isn’t far off. There is a lot of competition in this sector as companies are innovating new techniques which can deliver convenient and cost effective results along with superior accuracy. As soon as the major technological, psychological and regulatory roadblocks in the industry are removed, growth will quickly follow.