Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed a variety of industries through the mirroring of cognitive functions. From online retail to education, AI has helped shape the productivity and efficiency of many industries, with special advancement in the healthcare sector.
Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Healthcare
The advancement of AI in healthcare has made it easier to analyze data and patient results, as well as aid in the prevention, treatments and techniques used for garner better results. AI uses algorithms to automate some tasks in the healthcare setting. Doctors, researchers and scientists put newfound data into computers, where the algorithms can analyze, review, offer solutions to medical problems people are facing today. Most recently, AI is being used to speed up the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
A report from Reports and Data predicts global artificial intelligence in the healthcare market to reach $61 billion 2027. In an article by Accenture, the top AI applications could save the healthcare industry an annual of $150 billion by 2026.
Artificial Intelligence and where it’s headed today
The most common way artificial intelligence is being used in healthcare is as virtual health assistants. This means online pharmacy chatbots and robot doctors are real, and they can help assist with diagnosing symptoms, prescriptions, and getting you on the mend much faster, helping with the day-today for human pharmacists and doctors too.
AI is also being used in for medical imaging diagnostics. In 2018, MIT researchers developed a machine learning algorithm that can analyze 3D scans up to 1,000 faster than doctors can. Melanoma detection will soon be easier thanks to AI and other technology is being developed to help read medical image faster.
Administrative automation helps nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers free up their time through AI. Rather than spending extra hours on paperwork and reporting, AI handles the details so medical workers can have more face-to-face time with patients or fit in other patients they otherwise wouldn’t have time to see.
Right now, there is an incredible opportunity to revolutionize the way healthcare is run. AI applications are already changing the process—from hospital care, drug development, clinical research and even healthcare insurance, various health sectors are seeing how AI can make this business much more efficient and innovative, allowing for spend reduction and better patient outcomes.
Barriers to artificial intelligence in healthcare
Even with all the progress and benefits of artificial intelligence, there are still some concerns with its usage in the healthcare setting. When an algorithm doesn’t configure an ideal result, it could be because the data was bad from the beginning, or the team behind the AI didn’t fully think through the solutions, or other reasons. The point is, there is still room for error, and there have been instances in which AI has fallen flat in performance.
For one thing, privacy and data integrity make healthcare executives slow to adopt this newfound technology. In a survey by Intel, 91 percent of healthcare decision makers saw benefits in AI, but 54 percent of them also fear AI will be responsible for a fatal error at some point.
Patients are also hesitant to jump on the AI bandwagon due to lack of trust. Recent information shows that patients would prefer to rely on a human expert than AI algorithms and data. The trust issues we have with AI are, well, very human of us. New and unfamiliar technology makes people nervous sometimes and explaining just how exactly Artificial Intelligence benefits people in a healthcare setting can be too difficult to talk about in everyday context.
The disconnect between healthcare executives, patients and AI is even further divisive due to lack of communication. Administrative silos make it difficult to share data across multiple healthcare organizations, pigeonholing AI advancements and causing frustration. In the end, trust and communication will need to be built between AI and people through experience, transparency, and collaboration.
The foundation has been established for more AI in healthcare and it has the potential to reach even further. After all, we are merely humans. We need all the help we can get to accomplish more groundbreaking work in the healthcare industry.