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Providers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, payors, and consumers are all preparing for deeper integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into their processes.
Artificial Intelligence is a buzzword across the healthcare industry, and for a good reason. With an explosion of data in our society, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated each day, there is an increasing need to move toward parsing through what's actually important and utilizing the data effectively. In healthcare, data analysis can help decrease costs, improve care, streamline processes, improve patient outcomes, and predict population health trends.
From hospital care to clinical research, drug development and insurance, AI applications are revolutionizing how the health industry works to reduce spending and improve patient outcomes. Here are a few ways healthcare organizations are using AI:
Detecting and diagnosing - AI systems can analyze data faster than humans, which may make them more adept at processing multiple patient symptoms and determining medical diagnoses. An individual patient has hundreds of thousands of healthcare data points, if not millions in their electronic healthcare record (EHR). AI can sift through all of these disparate data points, identify patterns, and alert healthcare providers of any potential patient concerns or medication side effects or interactions.
Precision surgeries - AI-enabled robots have begun assisting with surgical procedures. In a surgical setting, a robotic system can be controlled by a surgeon, whose hand movements are converted into smaller, more precise movements that are performed by a set of “robot hands.” These hands stabilize potential tremors in the surgeon’s movements and the AI robot is also able to "learn" from each surgery, providing actionable feedback to surgeons on how to improve.
Population health - Using AI, healthcare professionals can get a complete picture of a patients’ health history, quickly compare it against that of patients with similar symptoms, and make more effective care decisions.
Wearables - Consumers are increasingly adopting wearable technologies like FitBits, Apple Watches, heart monitoring armbands, etc. With a growing percentage of the population utilizing these wearable technologies, clinicians are starting to use this data to track medical and health-related information from their patients, otherwise known as remote patient monitoring. This helps physicians monitor and treat chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma. AI is being used to help analyze a massive amount of patient data in real time for a more holistic approach to patient health.
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies can benefit from AI technologies in a number of ways:
With care models switching from fee-for-service to value-based, patient satisfaction is more important than ever. That's why many healthcare providers and organizations are implementing chatbots on their websites to offer personalized and helpful online experiences for patients. These chatbots use artificial intelligence to process a patient's appointment inquiry, and then artificially respond like a "real" person by replicating patterns of human interactions.
AI-powered mobile applications are also becoming more mainstream. Virtual assistants like WoeBot (a mental health AI tool), Forsky (a calorie-tracking and healthy eating AI tool), and HealthTap (online doctors and consultations) all help patients manage their healthcare from the privacy of their own phones.
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