Artificial intelligence is gradually making waves in the technological world. Due to the comfort that comes with AI, a lot of company has started introducing AI in their product and services.
The good news is that AI did not fail to meet the standards of the majority of businesses that introduce it to their work schedule.
Due to how great and fast the improvement AI is displaying, the healthcare sector has started showing interest in it, and this claim is backed by how AI has been incorporated into robotic form and has gradually started doing some little tasks in some big hospitals.
And truth be told, although AI is offering a reasonable amount of help it is limited to a lot of things, most hospitals can’t allow AI software to diagnose their patients for fear of them being diagnosed with the wrong thing.
In cases you don’t know, some illnesses have similar symptoms yet the pathogen of each of the illnesses is different, if AI software is used to diagnose a patient with an illness with such a history there is a high possibility that there might be an error of diagnosis and it is not the fault of AI at all.
The same goes for surgical operations as well, any emergency case can occur during the process where the AI software is doing the surgery and if there is no medical expert available at that point, the emergency can result in some worse than the current condition of the patient.
And remember, the reason why AI came into existence is to make the lives of humans easier. It is for these reasons and many other reasons that most healthcare industries avoid the use of AI in their services.
We can’t say because of these reasons, AI does not give any benefit to the healthcare sector. There are still many benefits AI technology offers to healthcare sectors.
Why should AI be used in healthcare?
When AI was first introduced to the healthcare industry, the result was disastrous and this has caused a lot of hospitals to avoid the use of AI technology.
Over the years, developers have continually improved AI technology, especially in the healthcare industry.
The improvement although not sufficient has proven to be reliable. With the help of AI and machine learning solutions, healthcare services can surely be transformed greatly.
With the accumulation of numerous data sets that appear as health images, health records that include diseases, symptoms and solutions, population data, clinical trial data, etc.
AI health Software developers have used this information to give proper training to their AI software so they can be able to render services around such areas.
It is not deniable that AI technology can run deep analyses on data and can uncover patterns and useful insights that humans won’t be able to find within a short while.
With deep learning technology, the AI algorithm can be of good help to healthcare organizations as it can help them get the result of research that might take time to conclude, this not only saves time but also save resources that might have gone when the research.
In this guide, we will go through the benefits of AI in healthcare and the potential challenge of integrating artifical Intelligence into healthcare.
What is the work of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Healthcare?
A lot of people have speculated lots of things as regards this, but still, only a few understand the principle that governs AI in the healthcare sector.
AI can indeed make lots of mistakes but still, this tool is an interesting instrument when used to carry out some actions.
Artificial intelligence technology works like how human beings do. Artificial intelligence has a mind of itself that is already programmed by the developers.
How the AI mind works is this; during the developing stages, the AI is trained with activities that it is being designed for. This training makes it get used to the activities.
With the introduction of machine learning algorithms, the training becomes more effective as the AI can operate on its own as regards that area.
For example, during the developing stage, the developers use symptoms of pregnancy and how to take the pregnancy scan to train the AI software.
Immediately the AI becomes more proficient in it, it becomes a lot easier to do the process. With the help of deep learning algorithms, a neural network is established.
This network makes the AI to be able to still identify a woman that is pregnant, even when the symptoms aren’t obvious.
This is so because the neural network works like the human brain and as a result, it will be able to do deep analysis of things that are exceptions to the normal rules.
This is the principle AI uses to carry out various activities either in the health sector or any other professional field.
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Benefits of AI in Healthcare
1. Providing User-Centric Experiences
Using AI can makes it easier to get user-centric experiences. Since AI can help healthcare to deeply understand their patient’s needs and preferences, it is no longer a pipe dream.
With the information AI generates for a particular patient, health practitioners can make good use of this information by providing better-personalized care.
One amazing fact is, if a patient’s body receives what it needs when it is down, it gets healthier faster.
I believe by now if you are following my words, you are probably thinking about how AI get information that will make health practitioners understand what they need to give to a particular patient.
AI gets the information from the hospital database and then carries out some analysis on data like medical records, genetic information, lifestyle factors, and others, in other to provide personalized medical recommendations for medical practitioners to use.
This feature also allows healthcare workers to easily detect the diseases and conditions affecting the patients with the help of the medical images and diagnostic test that the AI Software analyze, this even helps to manage resources effectively and also saves time.
Sometimes during the analysis, new treatment methods that are more effective than the normal treatment methods can also be discussed.
2. Lower Overall Costs of Treatment to Healthcare Providers
The cost of treating a patient in a hospital by a good medical practitioner has been under debate for a long time now.
Healthcare workers have been plagued with this because the majority of the time, patients’ caretakers mostly feels they are being extorted whenever they are making payment of medical bills in the hospital due to how high the bill is.
But the truth is, medical workers are mostly underpaid for the services they offer, with AI, this can be prevented. There are some health services that AI can do which can save health workers time to do other important things.
Some diseases don’t have similar symptoms to other diseases, AI can offer diagnoses to patients who are suffering from such diseases and even offer treatment on behalf of a health worker.
Also, AI can take X-rays on patients if needs be, like in cases where an X-ray is needed to check the presence of a particular disease.
This saves time and resources, and also, lowers the cost of treatment as there won’t be a need to carry out a series of tests and procedures which can result in the usage of more resources and more money.
With the right usage of Artificial Intelligence technology, healthcare can properly manage their resources and in turn reduce the cost of treating patients while still getting the best health outcome.
3. Help to connect disparate healthcare data
Due to the numerous data of different patients coming into the database of a particular healthcare organization, it is difficult to arrange these data because of the lack of time and also because they are numerous.
With the introduction of AI technology, connecting this healthcare data is easier and it also helps to streamline the tasks of the administrative office making them able to easily access particular data since AI can create a system that organizes the data according to some special tracker.
Doing the data connection reduces the tendency to do duplicate health tests and procedures. This at the same time prevents unnecessary hospitalization, thereby reducing the cost for both the healthcare system and the admitted patients.
When AI organize healthcare data, health workers can easily use it to carry out analysis from multiple sources, so they can get to know of new development and patterns as regards a particular disease and treatments within particular areas in the community.
With proper arrangement and connection of health data, proper analysis can ensure that patients from a particular region can get improved health treatment.
4. Artificial Intelligence can be used to assist in Surgical Operation
Artificial intelligence can be trained to be a good assistant for a surgeon in the theatre room where surgical operations always take place.
With AI as an assistant, the surgery process can be a lot easier and faster with lesser mistakes. For example, AI can help with planning a surgery process before the real one, it can analyze medical images such as MRI scans or CT scans to create a more visual image of the patient’s anatomical body which appears more realistic like the real body as all the angles of the body can be easily observed.
With this 3D image, surgeons can have a better understanding of the patient’s body even if the body has a unique constitution, and then plan the surgery more accurately with higher chances of success.
During the surgical operation, AI can be of help as well with useful analytical suggestions. During the surgery, it can show the surgeon performing the surgery places he should avoid just by tracking the movement of the surgeon’s surgical tool.
It shows the surgeon where his instrument would land in a 3D image so the surgeon can plan a different way to safely access the anatomical body of the patient with his critical thinking.
Also, AI can help to easily identify and highlight sensitive areas during the surgery operation. It can also show areas where tissues should be removed or areas where the surgeon should add tissues.
With this information, a surgeon can make more smart and safe decisions that can make the surgical operation end faster with success.
After the operation is over, AI can study the patient’s anatomy to analyze data it discovers during the observation period.
If after the analysis, it detects any unusual changes, it immediately calls the attention of the surgeon before the changes expand to a different thing.
Statistics show that the use of AI in Surgical operations has the potential to improve the success rate of surgeries leading to saving the lives of many patients.
It is important to know that, AI should not replace human surgeons but should act as an assistant only who can only give suggestions but the final decision-making is in the hand of the surgeon who is carrying out the surgical operation.
5. AI reduces errors in prescription
Error in drug prescription is very common and it is also a serious problem in the healthcare industry because a prescription error can result in worse conditions and in some serious cases, death is the outcome.
A study once informs the public that around 1.5% of prescription drugs are incorrect.
Although, when considering how large the prescription volume is yearly in the United States (about 4 billion) it is not high.
But to me, this percentage is high as one can’t determine the outcome of this little error, since the safety of the patient might be compromised.
Using AI to help in drug prescription helps to prevent errors in prescribing drugs to patients so a lot more lives can be saved.
With a system powered by AI technology, it can help to cross-check the prescriptions administered to patients to ensure their prescription is correctly filled and also ensure the correct dosage is filled in the drug packet.
In cases whereby there is an error in the drug prescription, the AI-Powered system can highlight the errors so the prescriber can make the necessary amendments before it results in a disastrous outcome.
There is this special feature of health AI software, and that is the fact that it can easily go through the patient’s medical records and go through the current medications being administered to the patient to identify whether the drug won’t react negatively with the body’s Immunity system.
If there is going to be a dangerous outcome, it alerts the worker who made the prescription.
After the AI knows the patient’s past medical record, lab results, and other data, it provides suggestions to the individual who is prescribing the medications to the patient thereby, leaving him to make the right drug prescription.
Do you know AI can do the prescription of drugs on auto-run? Yes, it does so that the rate of making manual errors due to miscommunication in prescriptions is drastically reduced.
6. It offers improve clinical health data management
With the way digital technology is gradually integrating with healthcare, there’s a need to get more data that can make the integration fast.
But this might result in a problem for healthcare professionals and clinicians as they are already having lots of data already overwhelming them.
In this kind of scenario, accumulating more data is going to be more troublesome for the workers, especially the administrative office.
In other for the workers to be able to switch to digital technology faster, using an AI algorithm to help with the sorting makes the switching easier and faster.
The machine learning algorithms of the AI software can provide useful insights by going through the data in other to understand the pattern of the data which the human eyes and brain might not easily notice.
AI has proven to be more reliable in helping to sort out the numerous data without receiving any human help.
An example is a smart device that has an AI algorithm that monitors the glucose level of an individual.
When the device wants to display the result, instead of displaying raw data, it identifies the latest trends and then notifies the health worker who is using the tool when necessary.
Tools like continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGMD) already have their algorithms programmed to administer insulin dosage based on the level of glucose.
If the algorithm notices more glucose, it increases the insulin dosage, and vice versa.
7. AI improves the healthcare condition in areas with limited resources and data
Not every region of the world has access to quality healthcare information, there are some regions whereby the health workers are working with limited resources and in some cases, it is the health workers that don’t have quality training.
These as a result cause a lot of diseases and health issues not to be discovered, or misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.
But as it is, AI is very much useful in this kind of world region. Some of these countries facing these challenges have started using AI in their health sector, for example; a health survey study informed us about the use of a high-resolution microendoscope image that does the diagnosis of oesophageal tumor in a region with limited resources, the diagnosis result was effective, and it is said to be of great help when using in this region with limited resources and poor medical skills.
NASA’s human research is also working on using a machine learning model to identify and understand the environment in space as there are limited resources that support any sign of life in there. So they are creating AI tools that can provide such support while in there.
With consistent effort and numerous resources, information on stuff like bone density, cardiovascular pathology, intracranial pressure, and much other information is continuously being recorded so smart vaccines that can cure illness faster can be produced.
For this course, Artificial intelligence is continually used to carry out a series of tests and experiments and the result is promising.
The kinds of AI tools that NASA uses can also be introduced in regions with limited resources and medical skills as well.
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Current Challenges of AI in Healthcare
AI has numerous advantages but still as I said earlier not every health sector uses AI in their services so, they are some factors that need some adjustments before all health sectors can fully integrate AI into their system. Some of the challenges include;
1. The Quality of the Data
This is one of the main challenges of AI in the health industry. Data used to train AI has to be correct, accurate, representative, and comprehensive so the AI can work effectively.
Once the data used to train the AI software isn’t correct, there will be a disastrous outcome. To avoid this, the data used to train the AI software must be correct.
2. Data Privacy and Security
This is a major problem as the data of every patient in the healthcare industry is very sensitive and confidential, and since AI requires this data, it is essential to create a secure and compliance data-sharing practices that ensure the patient’s data and privacy is well protected and not misused.
3. The regulatory compliance system
When using AI in healthcare services there are regulatory bodies like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) that oversight and regulate the use of AI technology in healthcare.
And the AI System must adhere to the rules and regulations of the regulatory body policy to avoid legal sanctions and ethical issues.
4. Clinical Validation
Before the AI system can be used in a clinical environment, the tools must be well-screened clinically so there won't be any negative side effects that might result from the usage. The goal of the screening is to ensure they are safe and effective to use and also, reliable.
The developers must address this problem so AI can be successfully integrated into the healthcare systems, as we now know, integrating AI in healthcare has a lot of benefits including rendering assistance that helps to complete ongoing research faster.
Frequently asked questions
What is artificial intelligence in healthcare?
This is the use of advanced technology to make healthcare services easy to access. Artificial intelligence renders lots of benefits to healthcare workers and ensures that they offer their services easily and sometimes, the AI software does the work of a healthcare worker in the stead of the individual.
Artificial Intelligence in healthcare comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Find out the Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
The use of AI in the industry is not fully acceptable yet it is an undeniable fact how beneficial AI could to the healthcare industry.
Predictions done based on the current speed of many AI developers made it known that in the future, AI will be integrated fully into the healthcare industry.
And as we know health sector is a very important industry in the lives of every living human being, so the more advanced and effective it gives its services, the more benefits we receive.
What are the other benefits of Artificial Intelligence to healthcare that you think? I would love to hear it in comments!