5 ways AI is changing the healthcare industry


Social distancing and remote working have paved the way for technology-enabled healthcare services such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) during the unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic. Within a short span of time, AI has revolutionised the medical industry by augmenting efficiency and productivity. Even healthcare professionals feel AI has enabled them to focus more on the patient care and trimmed down the burnout.

Artificial intelligence is increasingly growing in popularity and the market size is expected to reach $266.92 billion by 2027 from $27.23 billion in 2019. People often associate AI with robots, self-driven cars, and Alexa, but in reality, AI is much beyond that. Experts feel this revolutionary technology is going to bring loads of benefits to many other industries as well.

But its impact on the healthcare industry is going to be a game-changer. Various Innovations, including drug development, data management, clinical operations, and path breaking surgeries are being made using this technology in the medical industry. It has found its way into the hospitals too. AI centric investments predominantly fall into three segments — diagnostics, engagement, and digitalisation.

Here are some of the ways through which AI is bringing some life-changing transformations that is revolutionising the healthcare services industry:

AI technology increasing patient engagement

Chatbots, which are powered by artificial intelligence, are basically programmes built to automatically engage with a received query/message.

These days a lot of hospitals, healthcare centers, and nursing homes are using this technology on their websites to communicate efficiently with patients. These bots help patients visiting the site to discover specialists, booking their appointments, and getting them access to the correct treatment.

During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the usage of chatbots saw a surge in the healthcare sector because the patients completely relied on digital healthcare due to the cancellation of many elective surgeries and other healthcare facilities.

As the health-related queries increased three-fold in the last one and half years, these chatbots did a 24X7 duty of customer service representatives. Also helping therapists with diagnosis.

Robot-assisted surgeries are another big thing

This was actually invented with an intention of conducting a surgical procedure from a remote distance without touching the patient. Owing to social distancing and hospitals being high-risk areas in the current situation, robots have been integrated in the healthcare ecosystem. This has effectively reduced the pathogen spread.

The overall goal of AI-robotic integration in the pre-operative care, anaesthesia, the surgical procedure, and postoperative care is to minimise contact between the patient and healthcare provider at each step.

With the introduction of the fifth-generation wireless network (5G), it is expected to bring surgery to the next level. Remote surgery will soon become a routine medium of medical care.

Artificial intelligence in radiology

Artificial Intelligence techniques have presented remarkable development in the image-recognition tasks. AI methods excel at automatically recognising complex patterns in imaging data and providing quantitative, rather than qualitative assessments of radiographic characteristics.

AI has completely revamped the negativities of the scanning machines by providing highly accurate inputs on the body. It supports precise decision making for the doctors and minimises the error in inference. AI enables us to easily understand the differences between cancerous and non-cancerous cells.

AI can speed up the diagnosis process by automating tasks that are time consuming when performed manually. It can also help the radiologist prioritise urgent cases.

AI can handle routine requests and notifications

Artificial intelligence is making it easier to access healthcare services remotely through just a voice command. Very soon, clinicians will use embedded intelligence for order entry like the way we use Siri or Alexa at home.

Through AI techniques, routine requests from the inbox, like medication refills and result notifications can be accessed and processed. It may also help to prioritise tasks that truly require the clinician’s attention, making it easier for users to work through their to-do lists.

Reducing the burden of electronic health record use

Electronic health records are pivotal for the healthcare industry’s journey towards digitalisation. But it also has its own challenges of cognitive overload, endless documentation, and user burnout, which sometimes hold back the industry from making some humongous innovations.

Through AI, we can extract this wealth of information from EHRs in an accurate, timely, and reliable manner with minimal error. From EHRs, AI can also uncover patient insights, predict high-risk conditions, and enable more personalised care.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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