Healthcare should cure? But what if healthcare becomes sick?
The World Health Organization reveals that about 45% of its Member States have less than 1 physician per 1000 people, while globally the doctors’ shortage is over 5 million specialists. It means that many people from underdeveloped regions don’t have access to even basic medicine, not mentioning high-tech therapies. But even those people who don’t experience a shortage of doctors sometimes can’t get the necessary treatment. Why? Obviously, because of the price. For example, stem cell therapy, which may cure a variety of diseases, including leukemia, costs from $ 10,000 per procedure!
Unfortunately, price and accessibility are not the only problems that the healthcare sector suffers from. They are just the tip of the iceberg, while the situation is worse.
There are other statistics, which unveil the other side of the coin. This refers to healthcare specialists, their burnout, fatigue, and as a result, clinical errors. The figures discourage indeed. The survey states that among emergency physicians over 60% admit the feeling of burning out, and many have considered leaving healthcare altogether. With a shortage of physicians, there are fewer providers every year to take good care of patients. Only in the US, the number of deaths due to misdiagnosis reaches 250,000 people annually.
Slowly, but steadily the world is getting closer to a real catastrophe: medicine is becoming less accessible and of a poorer quality.
The salvation lies in the smart technologies that can, if not completely eradicate the problem, then at least make the situation better and bring qualified healthcare to the many, not just to the few. These are Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Blockchain.
Doctor AI and Virtual Clinic
Thanks to the huge promotion by famous brands, almost everyone now has fitness bracelets, calorie or pulse counters and pressure trackers. At the same time, IoT devices act not only as a tribute to fashion and trends but also as a smart approach to one’s health. Biosensors are able to collect data on physical activities, sleep, and overall condition and transmit it to doctors just in a single click.
Smart bots that can diagnose are somewhere in the middle between the IoT and AI. Do you use Siri on iPhone? The AI bot works exactly the same way. You describe the symptoms, and it gives you a possible diagnosis. How accurate is it? The test performed by the British company Babylon, which launched their AI-powered medical bot, showed that the AI’s accuracy of diagnosis reached 82%, while the average pass mark for GPs over the past five years was 72%. As AI evolves through machine learning and deep learning, its capabilities are virtually boundless.
Moreover, the chatbot is able to create an organized patient’s record and transmit it to doctors. When the patient comes for a visit to a human doctor, the specialist already has all information and can diagnose the person faster and more effective.
The Japanese Stem Cell Project, which focuses on the use of AI and blockchain in healthcare and seeks the way to research applications of stem cells, plans to go further than a bot doctor and develop Virtual Clinic that will allow patients to keep in touch with a doctor 24/7. When a person needs a medical consultation, he simply takes his phone or computer, chooses the doctor he needs from the wide network and connects him, no matter how far away they are from each other.
As Stem Cell Project CEO admits “Technology will probably never replace a human doctor, but it can do a lot of good to him. Remember all these cases of colds or headaches, when you didn’t want to waste time in the queue at the doctor’s and decide not to go at all. With AI and Virtual Clinic, the doctor will always stay by your side, saving your time, money and, most importantly, health.”
The Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are not all technologies that healthcare ripes for. Blockchain also joins the race. This technology paves the way to a great efficiency and speed when it comes to medical billing.
To pay for healthcare services patients usually make bank transfers, including the cross-border ones. Still, it’s not a secret that not 100% of bank transactions are successful. The bank can block the payment or detain it for long days. Needless to say that sometimes it’s a matter of hours that can determine a person’s life. Blockchain comes as a perfect fit in this case, transforming the way we make payments. With it, a money transaction happens instantly and seamlessly just the same way as people message online.
Today, blockchain is widely implemented in healthcare, starting with multi-million corporations such as IBM and up to startups aiming to bring more value to the industry with their go-ahead solutions.
Stem Cell Project is one of them. The company plans to make healthcare more human-friendly, boundless and secure with blockchain technology, so that nothing will stand between a patient and his doctor. To do this, the Japanese team created its cryptocurrency named SCC token, which will become a golden ticket to the wide range of services, including Virtual Clinic and stem cell treatment.