What exactly is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how will it change the face of medicine? AI is a term used to describe a computer that has the ability to mimic intelligent behaviour with the least human intervention possible[i]. These computers are capable of so much and we have only reached the beginning in the last few years. Specifically, in medicine, they allow a more precise approach and ability to access the body through minimally invasive procedures. Such techniques are valuable in many surgical fields. However, this is not the only area of benefit, AI is also applicable in health management systems, and electronic record-holding and integrating information which eventually helps physicians come to a diagnosis or treatment plan.
AI is finally making a breakthrough in the healthcare field which will greatly affect the primary care provided by healthcare physicians. The helping hand provided by AI will allow physicians in identifying critical patients and assisting in the formation of a customized treatment plan. Furthermore, AI can be given the task of note-taking, analyzing discussions, and data entry. All of these tasks can help mould a more efficient and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan resulting in improved delivery of care.
The current uses of AI are numerous, namely appointment scheduling, online check-ins, digital medical records, dosage algorithms, and immunization schedules. These uses are well spread out over medical fields however you might notice that they are small scale. Some more examples are listed below:
The branch of radiology has been the most welcoming of AI in the past few decades. The use of Computer Assisted Diagnosis in screening mammography is a well-documented example. Traditionally, it was reserved for diagnosis but now its role has extended to prognosis as well. Additionally, it has been extremely helpful in eliminating false-positive results.
Another growing use of AI is in the psychiatric field of medicine. AI-therapy is an online course that aids patients in treating social anxiety issues. This is one of the therapeutic uses of AI. Such uses are not as well explored but prove helpful in this case.
A revolutionary utilization of AI in medicine has been in the surgical field. The Da Vinci robotic system has developed surgical machines with far more accuracy than humans are capable of. This paves the way for minimally invasive surgeries as it allows for small precise incisions.
Another trending application of AI in medicine is through portable health trackers like Fitbit, Samsung Health, and Apple health. These applications or devices can monitor heart rate, activity levels, sleep times and so much more. Not only do they collect data but also use it to optimize the user’s health. This is especially helpful when patients suffer from chronic conditions, it assists them in keeping track of their conditions.
Suggested use of AI has been particularly relevant to the present times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have suggested using AI to combine data from a variety of surveillance systems (cellular operators, airlines, traffic applications, and social media) to better predict the contact and treatment of infected patients.[ii]
The application of AI in medicine is only an up-and-coming project. Current applications are minor so the full potential of AI in this field is still unknown. However, many researchers are trying to make headway in many different fields:
In cardiology, a study in the UK showed that machine learning has improved the risk assessment for cardiovascular events. This is done by the AI’s ability to correlate how risk factors interact with each other. The AI’s predictions proved to be better than the American College of Cardiology[iii]. It even gave lesser false positives.
The use of AI in ophthalmology has been in retinal diseases. An AI-powered device uses medical imaging to detect signs of diabetic retinopathy in patients. It does this through the detection of fluid levels in different parts of the eye. The same device can detect other signs of diabetic retinopathy like retinal vein occlusion.
At SofTx Innovations, we aid the transition of traditional healthcare systems to cloud-based, centralized, cost-effective, and portable solutions. Our healthcare software makes abundant use of Artificial Intelligence to pave the way for more efficient and potent applications of healthcare.