• AI in Healthcare: 5 Tech-Focused Approaches to Health

    April 21, 2020 | Lindsay Ware
  • As tech continues to improve, so does healthcare. Our medical professionals are working alongside the power of technology to improve the longevity and quality of human life. From less invasive methods of cancer detection to 3-D printed organs, we're living in a time where man and machine are combining forces for the greater good, bringing AI and healthcare together. 

    There are many areas in healthcare where humans alone can't be the only answer. Undoubtedly, humankind has made huge advances when it comes to medicine. We've discovered vaccinations to save lives, potent cures for life-threatening diseases, and so on. But, as with most things in life, we've come to a stalemate. Certain medical concerns simply can't be addressed using old fashioned methods.

    Here are 5 of the most cutting-edge, tech-focused approaches to health:

  • AI-Informed Robotic Surgery

  • It may sound like something out of a film, but robot surgery is already being applied in the real world. By using the information systems of artificial intelligence, surgeons can adapt their surgeries and improve them. AI has the remarkable ability to take past surgical experiences and store its information. It can then apply the recorded knowledge with calculated moves for improvement. Plus, robot-assisted surgery is typically less invasive, meaning patients heal quicker.

  • Drug Development Using AI and Healthcare Knowledge

  • Many different pharmaceutical companies are transitioning to AI in drug development. The traditional methods of experimenting with and creating new pharmaceutical drugs are timely and costly. By using AI, these companies are able to test and discover new and improved versions of drugs, all at a lower overhead cost and shorter time frame. 

  • When it comes to drug discovery, it's all in the numbers. In fact, it typically takes roughly 10 years for a new drug to complete all of the necessary data and tests. AI is effectively removing a large chunk of this time and effort, thanks to its innate number-crunching abilities. The programing available makes it possible for AI to test data and find patterns, plus identify improvements for patients based on specific health conditions. 

  • AI and Healthcare: 5 Tech-Focused Approaches to Health | Virtuul News

    AI is improving the drug industry by cutting costs and reducing the development time frame

  • Administrative Tasks Fulfilled by AI

  • Surprisingly, a huge contributor to healthcare costs is actually from administrative tasks. According to Pamela Hepp, an expert in healthcare data security, the administrative healthcare costs in the United States continue to rise and stay higher than those in other countries. 

    As of right now, a lot of money and resources are given to analysts who spend their time looking for trends and patterns in data. With AI, this is completed by what is known as machine learning. The technology essentially scans information to identify patterns quickly and effectively. Machine learning is also able to help predict what patterns may unfold in the future. 

    None of this is to say that AI and healthcare will become one, leaving humans out of the equation. If anything, AI will serve as a helpful tool to help humans work more efficiently themselves. Plus, the overhead cost of installing AI software won't be cheap, setting back the process even further. 

  • AI to Analyze Images and Tests

  • There are a few ways that AI can be used to understand and analyze medical imaging. One of the most remarkable is that AI can actually reduce the amount of time it takes to produce an image for evaluation. This then saves the patient from prolonged exposure to radiation during PET scans. Best known for this capability, SubtlePET is the first of its kind to be cleared for usage in the United States.

    AI in healthcare also creates the opportunity for detailed yet non-invasive imaging. ImFusion's AI tool actually allows for doctors to superimpose real-time images from patients' CT or MRI images to create a 3-D model. When used for surgical procedures, this tool lets doctors see the 3-D visuals inside the patient's body, all by using AI.

  • AI and Telehealthcare

  • Imagine having a minor medical concern and turning to your smartphone or laptop instead of heading to the doctor. This is what AI in healthcare is aiming to do, thanks to some innovative apps and platforms for virtual nurses to work from. 

    While AI can't replace routine visits and testing, it does create a convenient way to address minor concerns or questions. The specialized algorithms take from a database of thousands of symptoms and conditions. The programmed chatbots then prompt the user with a serious of questions, narrowing down the results based on answers. 

  • AI also allows for the human interaction of a doctors' visit, but from home. Numerous apps for smartphones and computers allow patients to live chat with a doctor or nurse, 24/7. Patients can discuss symptoms and questions on a secure, private platform with medical professionals. This method (if proven successful) can also cut down on healthcare costs for patients.  

  • AI and Healthcare: 5 Tech-Focused Approaches to Health | Virtuul News

    Telehealth and telemedicine are becoming popular options as the AI in healthcare field expands 

  • The Bottom Line

  • In healthcare, there's something known as the "iron triangle." This theory includes the access, affordability, and effectiveness of medical treatments. For years, nailing all three of these aspects has been a real challenge for medical professionals. But, with AI and healthcare working together, all three aspects have the potential to be met. It looks like it isn't humans vs. machines, after all, but rather humans with machines.

    We are still years away from AI in healthcare being received with full confidence. There are glitches that need to be ironed out, plus a breakdown in the installation and working costs. However, AI is definitely a move in the right direction when it comes to healthcare. From faster diagnoses to improved data analysis on tests, AI is allowing humans to break past the barriers of our capabilities and expand into greater roles than originally thought. With AI in healthcare, we gain the power and knowledge to improve our lives in many ways; our health included.