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Future of Industry

AI and Healthcare: Looking at a Giant Opportunity

AI is now all-pervasive, and there’s hardly any industry where the technology is not making deep inroads.

Healthcare is no different. We look at it today

Artificial intelligence and healthcare seem to be the perfect. It’s really about combining complex algorithms designed to perform specific tasks where researchers, doctors, or scientists work on data in computers. They then create new algorithms, which help in reviewing, interpreting, and suggesting complex medical problems. It looks like the applications of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare could be endless. For now, all one knows is that the current status only makes it look like just the first layer of this combination has been touched. Doesn’t it sound both fantastic and frightening at the same time?

Getting so much better all the time

We are still yet to see how artificial intelligence is silently transforming various industries. Still, the one industry that will most certainly see revolutionary results is the healthcare sector. It looks like AI has proven to be genuinely life-changing as the combination is being continuously worked on to reduce spending and improve patient outcomes. The impact areas have a wide range, including hospital care, clinical research, insurance, and even drug development.

It is believed that the estimated total public and private investments in healthcare were to reach about $6.6 billion by 2021. Giants like Accenture are predicting an even bigger number. According to a published report, the top AI applications could lead to an annual savings of $150 billion by 2026. These will lead to benefitting automated operations, precision surgery, and preventive intervention. It looks like the movement of impact will then rapidly go towards changing the healthcare system.

In an interview with a leading organization, Kaveh Safavi, head of Accenture’s global health practice, said that AI applications could help solve the iron triangle in healthcare. “Three interlocking factors—access, affordability, and effectiveness—require inevitable and often negative trade-offs,” the article mentioned. “Trying to improve one aspect usually harms another,” he said in an interview with Forbes. Further, he says that the right way to break the healthcare system’s cost-structure problem lies in deploying time-consuming tasks from humans to machines. It will enable self-servicing of their care needs and reduce the amount of human labour deployed to keep more people healthier.

According to a recent Forbes article, Accenture believes that AI could help address some 20% of unmet clinical demand in the times ahead.

Around the world, professionals involved as healthcare providers to drug manufacturers have taken a fundamental interest in the merging of AI and Healthcare. In fact, according to a report by PwC, more than one-third of provider executives were already investing in AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics. According to the experts, the impact of these investments will first impact the healthcare system’s operational and administrative side. One may see a change later on the clinical side. Reportedly, according to PwC, “most of AI’s economic impact will come from the consumption side through higher-quality, more personalized, and more data-driven products and services”.

In an interview reported by a leading news magazine, according to Dan Housman, chief technology officer at Converge HEALTH by Deloitte, consumers may not even realize at first how AI is influencing their care because much of it may happen behind the scenes. “They aren’t the ones reading the radiology report—a radiologist is,” Housman mentions in the interview. However, this may be of extreme benefit to the patient by ensuring an accurate initial diagnosis and a more effective treatment plan.

According to reports, AI has already begun assisting in many areas of healthcare. According to some research, below are reported areas where a big change in the industry may be noticed:

  • Diagnosis
  • Using robots to assist in surgeries
  • Nursing and administrative assistants
  • Detecting Fraud
  • Reducing dosage errors
  • The clinical trial participant identifier
  • Cybersecurity

Below are areas where predictive AI’s capabilities can bring a noticeable change in how medicine functions 

1.Monitoring patients remotely

AI’s predictive analytics algorithms help identify patients at risk. It could lead to follow-ups, including calls from the medical team. AI has impacted patients where it not only identified the overall risk but also assessed potential reasons for the root cause.

2. Readmissions in hospitals

It’s been noticed that the underlying causes require hospital readmission within 30 days of original discharge. Because of the predictive nature of AI, social causes of readmissions can be identified and kept track of.

3. Assessing the risks in the patient illnesses

Having a lot of data in hand allows AI algorithms plenty of ideas to work on and correlate. The predictive nature of AI can lead to understanding the root causes of chronic illnesses. These predictions can later go beyond assessing just the diagnosis to providing services such as admissions and emergency room visits. The risk assessment is of great help to patients.

4. Patient health

The amount of data available helps spot health challenges for many patients before the loss of time. Averting the risk of a potential cause of death can be of immense value to the hospital staff.

5. Appointments/Cancellations

Predictive analysis can help the staff book appointments and prepare themselves for a potential gap. It leads to efficiency and also allows for time utilization.

Where are we already using AI in healthcare?
  • Diagnostics: To diagnose patients with specific diseases, AI is efficiently used. A report on an AI platform was announced in March 2019 that it will be used to help identify cancer development
  • Drugs: A massive chunk of health and pharma companies are currently leveraging Artificial Intelligence to help drug discovery.
  • Clinical Trials: These are still being managed offline with no integrated solutions to track progress or data gathering, or drug trial outcomes.
  • Managing pain: An upcoming area where virtual reality combined with artificial intelligence can create imagined realities that are aimed to distract patients from their source of pain.
The Road Ahead

As a vast deal of funding pours into the space of AI and healthcare, there is enough evidence of its potential benefits. However, several challenges continue to remain when it comes to the adoption and implementation of these tools. While there is enough scepticism, healthcare providers need to trust algorithms to see their clinical verification. On the other hand, the patients are reluctant too. It has been reported that one-fourth of consumers surveyed by Accenture did not insist on using AI-powered health services.

Another botheration remains scalability. Advanced AI tech may be too costly to penetrate deep in the market, and therefore, one should only expect a great deal of pull and push in the market for a while

Date added
06.05.2021

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Future of Industry

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