The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) technology opens doors to unlimited possibilities in all sorts of industries. From self-driving cars to chatbots, AI is changing how companies innovate, customers interact and the world is run. One area that is poised to grow significantly from AI is healthcare, for which AI technology creates a number of possibilities. Here are just a few of the areas where AI can impact the future of the healthcare industry.

Patient Experience 

Scheduling and going to the doctor isn’t always a particularly pleasant experience or an effective use of time for patients, but AI could be used in a variety of ways to improve the overall experience for patients and physicians. One of the most logistically challenging aspects is scheduling, especially for places like the operating room where patients’ lives are on the line. AI can pull in a variety of information, including doctors’ schedules, patient needs and even severity of conditions, to help populate a schedule. AI can also be incorporated into technology like smartphone programs that use computer vision to recognize faces and medications. This could lead to the growth of telemedicine, more effective appointments and doctors being able to manage an estimated 10 times more patients in the same amount of time. Artificial intelligence is also being used in medical training, such as online medical transcription courses, to ensure all healthcare employees are knowledgeable and prepared. 

Predictive Analytics

One of the biggest strengths of artificial intelligence is being able to review copious amounts of data and organize it into something humans can use. This can have many applications in healthcare, but especially when it comes to predicting a variety of outcomes for patients. Instead of a doctor having to look through pages of patient information, the newest medical studies and data from various diseases, AI can, in theory, pull all the information together to provide a full picture of a patient's health and potential risks. This information can be applied to a number of areas and plugged into various algorithms to predict anything from the chance of being diagnosed with a certain disease to what strain of a new drug will be the most effective in fighting an ailment to how long a patient will need to be in the hospital. The beauty in this system is that even a small change to the data, such as a new drug coming online or new research being made available, can instantly change a patient's predictions and recommendations.

Disease Detection

Many professionals in the healthcare industry are trying to switch their mentality from simply treating sickness to preventing diseases and creating an overall healthier world. Some of the biggest AI breakthroughs could come from algorithm-driven deep learning. Teams are taking advantage of artificial intelligence—sometimes with no previous medical or biological experience. A multidisciplinary group of researchers at Stanford, including pathologists, geneticists and computer scientists, recently developed deep learning algorithms that can diagnose lung cancer more accurately than human doctors and pathologists. The same practices can be applied to a number of other diseases that would allow doctors to input patient data to the algorithm to receive accurate diagnoses, ideally before the disease has spread. These AI algorithms have the potential to revolutionize how we diagnose, treat and prevent diseases.

Drug Discovery

Bringing a new drug to market is a risky and incredibly expensive process that can be made easier and more effective with AI technology. These processes can be applied to many aspects of the drug development process, from analyzing existing drug data to comparing formulas, outcomes and patient patterns to theoretically testing new drug combinations before opening them up for riskier human testing. AI algorithms could also create individualized treatment plans that maximize safety and efficiency for each patient. By streamlining and automating much of the drug development process, new drugs would likely be able to come to market safely, more quickly and less expensively. 

Although artificial intelligence technology doesn’t remove all risk from the healthcare space, it can definitely make a large impact in just about every area. How physicians and patients interact, diagnose, treat and prevent diseases could be very different in just a few short years.

 

RickDelgado (3)-1.pngRick Delgado is a business technology consultant for several Fortune 500 companies. He is also a frequent contributor to news outlets such as Wired, Tech Page One and Cloud Tweaks. Rick enjoys writing about the intersection of business and new innovative technologies.

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