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Unlocking Next-Gen Healthcare Possibilities with AIby@eleanorbailey
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Unlocking Next-Gen Healthcare Possibilities with AI

by Eleanor BaileyOctober 25th, 2019
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Since 2013, the AI healthcare startups raised $4.3B across 576 deals in the private market. By 2021, by 2021, the investment will reach $6.6 billion. By 2026, for the U.S. healthcare industry, AI applications can create an annual savings of $150 billion. AI can significantly augment the quality of healthcare by 30% to 40%. AI makes an educated decision based on all the data it has been over. The possibilities AI brings in healthcare sector are well beyond that.

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AI is no longer just science fiction!

And thankfully it is bringing life-changing transformation in the healthcare industry.

AI can collect data over time, access data stored in other systems. And it can go over data written on the online books, internet. Gathering all the information together, it can research notes in a matter of seconds! And finally, it can make an educated decision based on all the data it has been over. Thus, AI applications in healthcare are transforming how the industry works. 

Its main objective is to improve the quality of patient care. And it also reduces healthcare costs. 

This is why many private and public institutions are investing to avail the benefits of AI in healthcare. This trend is in the market from the last couple of years. I have tried to cover the important stats that support this statement along with my experience in this blog.

Let’s start!

1. The AI Market in healthcare - Where does it stand?

Let the numbers talk!

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CB Insights mentioned that since 2013, the AI healthcare startups raised $4.3B across 576 deals in the private market. In AI deal activity, this is by far topping the chart.  

As per the report by BGV, by 2021, the investment will reach $6.6 billion. According to Accenture’s analysis report, by 2026, for the U.S. healthcare industry, AI applications can create an annual savings of $150 billion. 

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No wonder why the impact of AI in healthcare is one of the most discussed topics these days. 

2. Do we really need AI in healthcare? Or will it complicate it?

Well, AI is powerful and big. It is better if we do not question about AI’s effectiveness! Still, when AI becomes the new favorite of tech world’s, we are bound to question - “How?” 

We already have discussed the position of AI in healthcare market. Let’s consider the facts mentioned below. 

Every year, nearly 440,000 Americans die due to medical errors. 

According to different medical research reports, hospital errors are one of the leading causes of a patient’s death. 

As per the healthcare report, nearly 86% of the mistakes in the healthcare industry are preventable. 

Now, AI promises innovation in the healthcare system for a better future. A study by Frost & Sullivan states the AI can significantly augment the quality of healthcare by 30% to 40%. 

How?

Well, AI makes an educated decision based on all the data it has been over. Be it medical research paper, theories, journals, online books, or anything - it gathers information from everywhere.

It does its research in a matter of seconds. And then it provides an educated decision as per the patient’s health-related data. 

Thus, the chances of medical errors get reduced. AI assists in the medical field to diminish the casualties and errors mentioned above. Simultaneously, it cuts the treatment costs in half. 

So, yes! We need AI in Healthcare.

3. Potential AI Challenges in Healthcare

Just assisting doctors to diagnose better is not the only thing AI does. The possibilities AI brings in healthcare sector are well beyond that. However, AI adoption in this sector is still in its early days. We are not questioning its potential.

But you cannot ignore certain challenges holding back its momentum.

Privacy

This is important in every industry. Many research institutions and medical hospitals are wary of cloud platforms. They prefer to use their own servers to maintain the privacy of sensitive patient data. Medical researchers can easily get access to such data. But for other companies, to develop business cases or products, it is hard to get access to patient data. 

Sociocultural

While diagnosing a patient, getting doctors to consider suggestions from an AI-built system can be a bit difficult. Based on medical expertise, knowledge, intuition, problem-solving skills, and experience, doctors make decisions. Now, trusting an AI-built system, well, people don’t trust it! 

An AI deciding the best-suited deal for you in Amazon is not the same thing as suggesting the best medical action for a patient!

It is not so unnatural for people to think of AI as a threat to the doctors. This is why we need to introduce AI literacy in the medical field. Thus, people can think of it as a blessing to the medical sector. 

Limited data

In the field of medicine, AI solutions will often face issues related to variable data quality and limited data. When new data comes in, predictive models need to be re-trained.

This re-training is important whenever any changes in data-generation practices occur. So, keeping a close eye on the changes is crucial. Any other real-world issues that may cause the data distributions to drift over time cannot be ignored. 

Thus, before deploying AI solutions in an ethical and safe way, advancements and efforts in many areas are needed. With efficient regulation and control and increased knowledge, AI can soon find its deserving place in the medical field. 

With so many challenges stated above, you may think is it worth to invest in AI for healthcare?

Let’s see why AI in healthcare is worth your investment. 

4. How AI is (or will) Transforming Healthcare

Here is a list of some great benefits of AI in healthcare industry.

A. Personal Virtual Healthcare Assistant

The virtual assistant is a no more surprising element in today’s tech world. We all know about advanced AI algorithm-powered assistants. Google Assistant, Cortana, and Siri are already trending today. Combining these personal assistants with different healthcare applications sounds like a great idea. It can undoubtedly provide massive value to the users. 

How?

Well, such healthcare apps then can act as the personal health assistant to the users. These can be used for providing medication alerts. In the absence of the clinical personnel, these applications can assist the patients. 

B. Medical Imaging Analysis

Using AI in radiology is another significant impact of AI in healthcare industry. The diagnosis processes become seamless in this way. With medical imaging analysis,

Examining medical images like CT scans, X-rays, MRI, etc. becomes easier

Also, it can provide feedback on what a human eye can miss

So, medical imaging analysis reduces the chances of errors. And makes the diagnosis process more effective and accurate. 

As an instance of medical imaging analysis, you can check out IBM Watson. In the field of oncology, IBM Watson has gained immense popularity. It provides healthcare specialists with treatment options based on evidence. 

C. Improved Quality of Sleep

One of the secrets to staying fit and healthy is having a sound sleep regularly. People who have good sleep at night, are usually healthier. Also, they are more productive, and happier. No, we are not saying this on our own! Various medical research reports have depicted this. 

Today, most Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. And this problem is showing no sign of decreasing! 

To, deal with it, the healthcare industry has once again adopted AI. You will find a lot of gadgets in the market now that help you sleep better. Sleep applications, baby monitors, AI-powered smart mattresses, etc. are available in the market today. Thus, AI is continuously working to improve the quality of sleep. 

AI-made lullaby! Sounds interesting, right?

Yes, AXA PPP, a healthcare company has made it possible. It created two lullabies. One by humans and the other by AI. The AI system could get a feel for harmony and rhythm using deep learning.

And it resulted in a new composition. It was then converted into a song with the help of a human. Interestingly, it can help you sleep better! 

D. Healthcare Bots

We have already seen how AI-implemented chatbots are taking care of customer services in the eCommerce industry. Now, it is time for healthcare bots.

Those days are not far when patients can interact with AI bots. And this interaction will be possible on the website either over the telephone or through a chat window. 

How can healthcare bots benefit patients?

  • Schedule appointments for the patients’ to their respective healthcare providers
  • 24*7 support service
  • Helping patients with their medications

E. Precision Medicine

Molecular biology has a branch called Genomic. It deals with the function, evolution, mapping, and structure of genomes. From the information gathered from the DNA, it looks for the links to disease. 

Now, when this medical science is combined with AI technology, 

  • The diagnosis process becomes faster
  • Some vascular diseases and cancer can be spotted at a very early stage
  • It can predict some gene-based health issues that a patient might face. 

Another added advantage is that AI helps in medical parts machining. Thus, the chances of error in operation reduces. 

So, all these great things come with AI in healthcare industry. Well, it does not mean that the scopes of AI solutions in healthcare are limited to these points only. The potential for AI in healthcare is vast. 

5. How AI applications in healthcare are benefiting the industry

AI is positively contributing to the betterment of humanity. From improved diagnosis to early detection - everywhere AI is much needed! 

It is not like AI has been introduced in the healthcare market recently. Still, we are far from experiencing its full power yet. So far, we have seen Google’s DeepMind. It has taught systems to read retinal scans. Well, doubting about its accuracy? DeepMind’s accuracy level is as an experienced junior doctor! 

The following image represents the AI applications in healthcare in terms of estimated annual revenue growth by application by the year 2026.


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According to experts, chronic health conditions are expected to get the maximum benefit from AI implementations. 

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Wrapping Up

Artificial intelligence promises to gain insights and better recognize patterns in behavior. Also, it makes sense of complex medical data. This technology is a big hope to the medical industry. It is believed that with its full power, AI can bring life-changing transformation in the healthcare sector. The huge share of AI in healthcare market is proof of that.

Along with Artificial intelligence, another emerging technology Blockchain is impacting the medical field significantly. How? Well, we already have a blog on it.