How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect the Healthcare Industry?
The healthcare industry has seen a revolution like no other, with each year introducing new developments that accelerate and vastly improve medicine. Like many other industries, the healthcare industry has been greatly impacted by technology, and artificial intelligence in particular.
Read our guide below to how the healthcare industry will be affected by artificial intelligence!
How Will Artificial Intelligence Be Used in the Healthcare Industry?
There are three ways in which artificial intelligence will be used in the healthcare industry:
- Patient-orientated AI
- Administrative and operational-orientated AI
- Clinician-orientated AI
How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect the Healthcare Industry?
Despite the already instrumental improvements that technology has made to the healthcare industry, there are still many more ways in which artificial intelligence can vastly improve the way in which healthcare is delivered. With artificial intelligence’s ability to mimic human intelligence, it is believed that AI has the potential to both increase the productivity and efficiency of our global healthcare systems. From reducing healthcare professional burnout to allowing doctors to focus on more serious health issues, artificial intelligence has promising potential for the healthcare industry.
“The greatest opportunity offered by AI is not reducing errors or workloads, or even curing cancer. It is the opportunity to restore the precious and time-honoured connection and trust.” – Eric Topol, Author of Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again
Below are a collection of ways in which artificial intelligence is empowering the healthcare industry:
Early Detection & Diagnosis:
One of the most significant ways in which artificial intelligence is helping the healthcare industry is by aiding in the early detection and diagnosis of health issues and diseases. Today, AI is already being used across the globe to detect illnesses, such as cancer.
WIRED reported that researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Texas have developed a form of artificial intelligence capable of translating patient data into a diagnosis with 99% accuracy and at a speed 30 times faster than that of a human doctor! Such statistics emphasise the promising potential of artificial intelligence in healthcare, and show what could be possible with even further development.
The ways in which artificial intelligence can be used in treatment are continually advancing and improving, with robotics having already been used in medical practices for over 30 years. Advancements in robotics have seen them able to assist humans in performing operations, or in some circumstances robots have solely performed the operation.
Robots and artificial intelligence have also been used to aid in rehabilitation for patients post-accident and operation, aiding in the delivery of physical therapy. They have also been used to perform the repetitive tasks crucial to the running of healthcare establishments, working in labs dedicated to researching and diagnosing illnesses.
A more recent development in the healthcare industry is the use of artificial intelligence in the research and delivery of new drugs to market. Due to AI’s ability to sort through extensive data sets quickly and concisely, it has the potential to both cut time and expenses significantly when trying to introduce a new drug.
Artificial intelligence will also play a significant role in the delivery of clinical trials. Due to their efficiency, AI could be used to accelerate processes, such as adding information to databases and assigning medical codes to specific patients.
This is one of the most significant ways in which artificial intelligence is already impacting the healthcare industry. Artificial intelligence uses neural networks to detect signs of diseases, and empower humans by keeping track of the medical images needed to diagnose a person with an illness.
As mentioned previously, artificial intelligence has already been used in the diagnosis of certain types of cancer – such as artificial intelligence which has proved to be as effective as a human radiologist in the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Reducing healthcare costs:
Artificial intelligence is believed to have the potential to reduce costs within the healthcare industry. There are many ways in which AI will reduce costs for the healthcare industry, ultimately making the whole process of accessing healthcare more efficient. Just some of the many ways that AI will reduce healthcare costs are by reducing the number of medication errors that take place, preventing medical fraud, virtual health assistance and creating more efficient healthcare workflows.
How is Artificial Intelligence Already Being Used in Healthcare?
Artificial intelligence is already at work in the healthcare industry, working to make medical processes more convenient and efficient. Essentially making it easier for patients to receive the care they need, machine learning and natural language processing are areas of artificial intelligence that are already being used within the healthcare industry.
Artificial intelligence is already being used to analyse X-ray images, to support clinicians by reducing the time they must spend analysing results and instead allowing them to spend more time with patients. Artificial intelligence has also made it possible to screen increased numbers of patients, due to their speed and accuracy in analysing data.
AI has also been used to allow patients to access medical information virtually, using a smartphone or computer. Chatbots have also been used to provide basic medical information, such as for illnesses and conditions that can be easily treated at home. Such technology also allows healthcare professionals to remotely monitor the wellbeing of their patients, instead of having them visit them in the surgery that they practise at.
Artificial intelligence has also been utilised to help healthcare professionals that specialise in the study of the brain. AI has been used to help clinicians to analyse brain scans, and analyse them at a faster rate, ultimately reducing the length of time that it takes a patient to be treated. An example of this artificial intelligence in use is the e-Stroke technology, AI that will aid in imaging for acute stroke care – AI that has recently been deployed at the Royal Sussex Country Hospital, Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital, managed by the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.
“What is the fate of medicine in the time of AI? Our fate is to change.” – The Lancet
What are the Risks of Implementing Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare?
As with many things in life, there are both pros and cons to implementing artificial intelligence in healthcare. Below are some of the cons of integrating artificial intelligence into the healthcare industry:
Injury & Errors:
Artificial intelligence is not perfect, it too can fall victim to errors, which could undoubtedly result in patient injury or additional health implications. This may be the recommendation of the incorrect drug for a patient, incorrect assessment of patients or the failure to identify a critical issue on a scan. A major concern of using AI in healthcare is that if one AI system is used to assess hundreds of patients, then hundreds of patients may be injured or harmed due to the use of AI, instead of the small pool of patients that could be harmed by a single clinician.
Access to Data:
In order for artificial intelligence to work and learn, they must have access to large data sets that they can analyse. Unfortunately, healthcare data can often be complicated, sorted across a variety of different systems, which results in the data being fragmented and difficult to analyse. Patients may also see a variety of different healthcare providers, which could cause pieces of information to be missing from patient medical records. Such data fragmentation can increase the risk of errors, and ultimately means that AI can not operate 100% effectively.
There are concerns that artificial intelligence will pose a risk to patient privacy. Due to the fact that AI needs access to large data sets to function, this means that more data will have to be collected from patients. Patients become concerned when they have to disclose large amounts of data, and feel as though their privacy is being breached. There have been previous lawsuits filed due to the sharing of healthcare data with third parties.
Like humans, artificial intelligence is highly susceptible to biases, and can even create biases itself. Learning from large data sets, artificial intelligence can pick up on biases in the data they are analysing. Artificial intelligence can only learn from the data it is provided with, so may develop biases when having to treat patients that do not regularly access healthcare. There is also concern that AI’s performance may be decreased when having to treat a person whom they do not have sufficient data on their race or gender, causing underrepresentation and bias in healthcare systems.
Employment & Professional Realignment:
As with many industries, the arrival of artificial intelligence could indeed cause some people’s jobs to become obsolete. Many practices within the healthcare industry are on their way to being automated, such as radiology, which will ultimately cause a loss of jobs and decreased employment. It is also believed that if we begin to heavily rely on the work of AI, then there will be a lack of knowledge across the human race, meaning that humans cannot pick up on errors in artificial intelligence.
How Can I Learn More About Artificial Intelligence?
If you are intrigued by the impact that artificial intelligence will have on our planet, a great way to understand more is by hiring one of The Artificial Intelligence Speakers Agency’s talented AI speakers! Browse our roster of experts on artificial intelligence, and get in touch with one of our dedicated booking agents today! Call us on 0203 4109897 or complete our online contact form to secure your perfect artificial intelligence speaker today.