What Type of Impact Will AI Have on Healthcare in the Future?

Posted on  July 17, 2018

 

 

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has already changed how many of us fly, rideshare, deposit checks and unlock our phones.

So what type of impact will AI have on healthcare? A big one, according to experts. Here are just a few of the ways artificial intelligence is already making inroads into modern day practice of healthcare:

  • Google recently announced the first four companies to join its Launchpad Studio, which is initially being aimed squarely at healthcare and biotech
  • Many doctor’s offices now digitally verify insurance information instead of calling an insurance company on the phone
  • Some doctors are now using virtual assistants to enhance interactions between patients and caregivers
  • AI chatbots are available that tap into natural language processing, knowledge management and sentiment analysis to help physicians provide better care
  • The ai app plans to use artificial intelligence to interpret lab results. The company’s first product will interpret blood tests, then genetic tests.
  • AI-based emotional intelligence indicators are being developed to pick up on subtle cues in speech, inflection or gesture to assess a person’s mood and feelings. They could potentially help detect depression or underlying chronic diseases.
  • AI apps are also being developed to improve clinical documentation

In the future, AI could be used to improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare – as well as reduce its costs.

For example, IBM says its AI application, Watson for Drug Discovery, can use natural-language processing to read millions of pages and comprehend contextual meaning in research. Ultimately, this tool could be used to drastically reduce the time it takes to develop new drugs, which is currently 10 to 15 years on average.

Researchers at Harvard have developed an AI system that they say more precisely diagnoses breast cancer. According to Fortune Magazine, “the AI technique helped the doctors increase their accuracy from 96% to 99.5%. That slight percentage increase is notable, because it means an additional 68,000 to 130,000 women will receive more accurate diagnoses each year.”

As for reducing healthcare costs, Accenture says that artificial intelligence could be used for administrative tasks like voice-to-text transcription, which could help healthcare companies and hospitals eliminate or reduce the need to write chart notes, prescriptions, and order tests.

In addition new AI workflow-assistant capabilities could reduce work time by 17% for doctors and 51% for registered nurses, according to Accenture.

Fortune Magazine says, citing Accenture research, that “by making the overall healthcare industry more efficient, artificial intelligence applications could create $150 billion in annual healthcare savings in the U.S. by 2026.”

Another way that AI could help physicians is by allowing them to model the best practices of the nation’s top doctors.

Aoun has created AI that records and analyzes how the best physicians achieve superior outcomes. This information could then be used to help other doctors improve their performance, which could reduce patient deaths by thousands each year.

In other word, it is without doubt that AI is going to affect healthcare in the future. But the speed of AI’s impact is going to depend a great deal on doctors themselves and their willingness to accept new innovations.

According to Robert Pearl, M.D., who recently wrote about AI in Forbes, “Unfortunately, the biggest barrier to artificial intelligence in medicine isn’t mathematics. Rather, it’s a medical culture that values doctor intuition over evidence-based solutions. Physicians cling to their independence and hate being told what to do. Getting them comfortable with the idea of a machine looking over their shoulder as they practice will prove very difficult in years to come.”

One more thing – as AI inevitably becomes more prominent that could mean some healthcare jobs will disappear.

According to one study, Artificial Intelligence is set to take over 47% of the U.S. employment market within 20 years and healthcare won’t be immune to that takeover.

However, many experts believe that what could ultimately emerge is a more efficient healthcare system that utilizes AI to deliver better care at reduced costs.

 
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