Artificial intelligence (AI) has grown prevalent across all industries. In healthcare, AI aids physicians in streamlining duties, increasing operational efficiencies, and simplifying difficult procedures. Large IT firms are pouring more money into AI healthcare research. In 2020, Microsoft, for example, announced a $40 million five-year commitment to addressing healthcare concerns. Although AI is undoubtedly altering the healthcare business, it is still a relatively new technology. As AI usage spreads throughout the healthcare industry, issues regarding the technology’s benefits and drawbacks become increasingly pressing.
Gartner, a technology research firm, predicts that by 2021, 75 percent of healthcare firms will have invested in AI to boost overall performance. The benefits of AI-driven medical tools are immeasurable and useful to both doctors and patients, and they may be used in a variety of healthcare settings.
Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
Pros of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
1. AI makes healthcare more accessible.
Unfortunately, many poor countries continue to fall behind the rest of the world in many areas, and healthcare remains the most unpleasant for them. People living in the most remote areas are at risk of dying since it is nearly hard to obtain appropriate medical assistance in a timely manner. According to the World Health Organization, unequal access to health services results in an 18.1-year difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest countries.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to develop a more efficient healthcare ecosystem. Patients will be able to better understand their symptoms and receive the treatment they require with the support of such digital infrastructure. Many applications have lately been developed to improve the collaboration between national and international healthcare institutions in order to give patients with immediate support. For example, the Ada App, which is based on intelligent technology and is available in 140 countries, improves access to medical guidance for the poor.
2. PROVIDES REAL-TIME DATA
Acquiring reliable information in a timely manner is an important part of diagnosing and treating medical problems. Doctors and other medical professionals can use AI to use real-time, precise data to speed up and improve key therapeutic decisions. Improved preventative measures, cost savings, and patient wait times can all be achieved by producing more immediate and realistic outcomes.
Improved physician-patient connections can be aided by real-time analytics. Patients can be more engaged in their treatments if crucial health data is made available via mobile devices. Doctors and nurses can be alerted to critical changes in patient status and crises through mobile alerts.
3. AI-powered techniques aid in the detection of early disease risks.
Because AI can collect and store people’s data in one place, it can use it to get insight into their past and current health issues. The physicians can make a more accurate diagnosis with such a comparison of disease details. Millions of symptoms, diagnoses, and specific cases have been accumulated in the health app database, allowing for the prediction of future health problems.
A well-known software program Verily, a Google product, is adept at predicting both communicable and hereditary genetic disorders. Such apps allow health professionals to foresee potential hazards and take proper precautions now to avoid them in the future. Furthermore, predictive analytics helps healthcare facilities enhance their operational management.
4. STREAMLINES TASKS
Artificial intelligence in medicine has already had a significant impact on healthcare practices around the world. Appointment scheduling, translation of clinical details, and patient history monitoring are among the innovations. Artificial intelligence is allowing healthcare facilities to automate more time-consuming and meticulous activities. Intelligent radiology equipment, for example, can recognize important visual indicators, saving hours of intensive investigation. Appointment scheduling, patient tracking, and care recommendations can all be automated with other automated systems.
Reviewing insurance is one chore that AI has made much easier. Artificial intelligence is being utilized to reduce the expenses associated with insurance claim denials. Health practitioners can use AI to discover and correct errors in claims before insurance companies deny reimbursement. This not only speeds up the claims process but also saves hospital staff time by allowing them to work through the denial and resubmit the claim.
By enabling speedier payouts and more accurate claims, hospitals can be more secure in their reimbursement timelines, allowing them to accept a wider range of insurance plans. AI fundamentally allows hospitals to accept a diverse range of insurance policies, which benefits both potential and current patients.
5. SAVES TIME AND RESOURCES
Medical professionals have more time to analyze patients and identify illness and ailment as more important processes are automated. Artificial intelligence (AI) is speeding up procedures at medical facilities, allowing them to save valuable production hours. Time is money in any industry, so AI has the potential to save a lot of money. Consider the potential of AI to develop biomarkers that can detect specific ailments in the human body as proof of this. The algorithms ensure that the majority of the manual labour involved in defining these biomarkers can be automated. They save time, which could save a person’s life.
The healthcare business is estimated to waste roughly $200 billion per year. Administrative burdens, such as filing, evaluating, and resolving accounts, account for a large percentage of these wasteful costs. Another area where there is a need for improvement is determining medical necessity. To correctly establish medical necessity, hours of evaluating patient history and information are generally required. Physicians can use new natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning (DL) algorithms to help them analyze hospital cases and avoid denials.
Medical professionals are given more time to assist and interface with patients by freeing up valuable productivity hours and resources.
6. AI as unique and unrivalled assistance in surgery
The interest in AI and robotics applications in surgery has grown as a result of successful testing and research. The AI Surgical System allows for the tiniest and most precise movements. As a result, difficult surgeries can be carried out with little discomfort, blood loss, and risk of side effects. Furthermore, patients recover much faster after such surgical treatments.
Antibacterial Nanorobots are used to assist rid of a patient’s blood of pathogens before or after an operation. To put it another way, AI provides surgeons with real-time knowledge about a patient’s current status. When patients have concerns regarding surgery under general anesthesia, such AI tools instill confidence in them. Overall, technical improvements in surgical robots are expected to boost the market’s worth to $24 billion by 2025.
7. ASSISTS RESEARCH
AI allows researchers to collect vast amounts of data from a variety of sources. More accurate analysis of lethal diseases is possible thanks to the ability to draw on a large and growing data set. In terms of real-time data, research can benefit from the vast amount of data available, as long as it can be simply translated.
Medical research organizations such as the Childhood Cancer Data Lab are developing technologies that will help medical practitioners better manage large data sets. Artificial intelligence has also been used to examine and diagnose symptoms earlier in the course of an illness. Telehealth systems are being used to track patient progress, get critical diagnosis data, and contribute population data to shared networks.
8. MAY REDUCE PHYSICIAN STRESS
According to recent research, more than half of primary care physicians are pressured by deadlines and other job factors. AI aids in the streamlining of procedures, the automation of activities, the quick sharing of data, and the organization of operations, all of which relieve medical personnel of the burden of juggling too many jobs.
“Patient load and the nature of the job are the most major contributors to physician burnout,” Yang says. However, because AI can help with more time-consuming tasks, such as explaining the diagnosis, medical practitioners may feel less stressed.”
9. Artificial intelligence (AI) aids in the enhancement of human talents and the promotion of mental wellness.
Patients can be helped by robots as well as medical personnel. Thanks to exoskeleton robots, paralyzed people can walk again and are no longer reliant on caregivers. Another development in AI application in the healthcare sector is a smart prosthesis with sensors that allows patients to have even more reactive limbs than before.
According to the organization Amputee Coalition, the number of amputees in the United States is predicted to reach 3.6 million by 2050, resulting in a growing demand for smart limbs. Service robots that can conduct daily duties are extremely useful in ensuring that elderly or ailing patients do not feel lonely. Conversational and companion robots assist such persons in managing their temperature, blood pressure, and sugar levels, as well as taking medications. Such robots frequently include built-in personality analysis capabilities, which might help depressed patients feel more hopeful.
Cons of AI in Medicine
1. NEEDS HUMAN SURVEILLANCE
In the medical field, AI has come a long way, yet human supervision is still required. Surgery robots, for example, work logically rather than empathically. Important behavioral insights that can assist identify or avoiding medical issues may be seen by health practitioners.
“AI has been around for several decades and is still evolving. “As this field progresses, there will be greater contact between healthcare practitioners and technology experts,” Yang says. To be used efficiently, AI requires human input and assessment.
As AI advances, the sectors of technology and medicine are increasingly collaborating to improve the technology. “Medical experts must have years of study to practice in their specialties,” Yang adds. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) contribute critical knowledge that enriches the data available and improves explainable AI (XAI) to deliver trustworthy and meaningful insights to healthcare staff.”
2. Personal involvement is lacking.
Surgery robots are fully rational and are not programmed to have any feelings for the patients. It is considered a disadvantage by some specialists. Human capabilities in terms of personal interaction with the sick, on the other hand, far outnumber those of computers. The interactions between a doctor and a patient are crucial in establishing trust and providing therapy. Of course, AI equipment can function with minor flaws that have little impact on the diagnosis or operation. Unlike computers, physicians are allowed to break some regulations in order to save a person’s life.
3. MAY OVERLOOK SOCIAL VARIABLES
The requirements of patients frequently go beyond their immediate physical ailments. Appropriate recommendations for specific patients might be influenced by social, economic, and historical variables. For example, an AI system might be able to assign a patient to a specific treatment center based on a diagnosis. However, this system may not take into consideration the patient’s financial constraints or other personal preferences.
When an AI system is used, privacy becomes a concern. When it comes to gathering and utilizing data, companies like Amazon have complete control. Hospitals, on the other hand, may encounter difficulties while attempting to transmit data via Apple mobile devices. These legal and social constraints may limit AI’s potential to aid medical practices.
4. Possibility of a Defective Diagnosis
The precise diagnosis of a disease is based on information gathered from millions of people who have had comparable symptoms and circumstances. The AI database should include enough information on the patients in the relevant group to make an accurate comparison. As a result, if there is a paucity of data about a person from a particular background, AI may make an incorrect diagnosis. As a result, if the doctors lack the experience to recognize the error, they are more likely to administer the incorrect treatment. Medical errors cause about 200,000 patient deaths each year, resulting in a $20 billion yearly cost for the US healthcare system. AI devices that aren’t well-trained could add to the losses.
5. MAY LEAD TO UNEMPLOYMENT
While AI may help lower costs and relieve clinician stress, it may also eliminate some jobs. This variable may result in the displacement of healthcare professionals who have invested time and money in their education, posing equality issues.
The main reason for the loss of job possibilities is that as AI becomes more integrated across industries, positions that require repetitive tasks will become obsolete. Many activities that were previously undertaken by humans can now be performed by machines because AI has been applied across the entire healthcare system on a larger scale. Chatbots and robots can assist with mental health issues, examine the state of a patient’s health, and predict issues such as seizures, sepsis, and cardiac arrest. As a result, many people may lose their jobs.
Though AI has the potential to improve many aspects of healthcare and medicine, it is critical to address the social implications of its implementation.
6. INACCURACIES ARE STILL POSSIBLE
Medical AI is primarily reliant on diagnosis data culled from millions of instances. A misdiagnosis is entirely conceivable when there is limited data on specific illnesses, demographics, or environmental factors. This is especially crucial when prescribing a certain medication.
“No matter the system, there is always some fraction of missing data,” Yang says of the data gap. Some information about specific populations and treatment reactions may be missing in the case of prescriptions. This can make it difficult to diagnose and treat individuals who fall within particular demographics.”
To account for data shortfalls, AI is always evolving and improving. It’s worth noting, though, those specific populations may still be left out of domain knowledge.
7. Social Prejudices
As previously stated, AI-based robots are unable to fully comprehend human nature and the context in which they operate, causing them to be biased against the patients being diagnosed. For example, an AI algorithm may recommend a care facility to a low-income client that is out of reach. The exorbitant cost of services at such facilities makes it difficult for patients to stay on track with their treatment. It is the doctor’s responsibility to determine the most appropriate treatment plan, taking into account the patient’s social and financial circumstances.
8. SUSCEPTIBLE TO SECURITY RISKS
AI systems are vulnerable to security risks since they rely on data networks. Improved cyber security will be necessary from the start of Offensive AI to ensure the technology’s long-term viability. According to Forrester Consulting, 88 percent of security sector decision-makers believe aggressive AI is a growing concern.
Cyberattacks will use AI to become wiser with each success and failure, making them more difficult to forecast and avoid as AI leverages data to make systems smarter and more accurate. When malicious threats outsmart security defenses, attacks will become far more difficult to counter.
Should Artificial Intelligence be Used in Healthcare?
AI has the capacity to improve healthcare systems without a doubt. Automating time-consuming tasks can free up clinicians’ schedules so they can spend more time with patients. Improving data accessibility aids healthcare providers in taking the appropriate precautions to avoid sickness. Real-time data can help diagnoses be made more accurately and quickly. Artificial intelligence is being used to eliminate administrative errors and save money. As SMEs become more involved in AI development, the technology becomes more applicable and well-informed. AI is increasingly being used in healthcare, and new limitations and obstacles are being faced and solved. AI still needs some human oversight, may ignore social aspects, has data gaps, and is vulnerable to increasingly planned hacks.
Overall, despite significant problems and hazards, AI and robotics offer tremendous benefits that are transforming the global healthcare sector. Millions of people’s lives have already been impacted by AI-driven products and the Internet of Medical Things.