AI is changing the world in many different ways, and you can see its growing impact in a variety of industries. Foremost among those is healthcare, where practitioners can save lives due to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Here are five ways that AI is giving the healthcare industry a makeover.
One area in healthcare that AI is already changing is patient engagement. That’s one of the topics that Field Service Medical is likely to cover. It’s a yearly peer-led conference for leaders in the medical device industry.
Patients already use AI for things like:
- Appointment reminders
- Automated scheduling
- Medication reminders
Soon, though, patients will converse more with chatbots, and that will not seem at all unusual.
Right now, drug or treatment side effects might worry about a patient. They might have to schedule a consultation with a doctor or pharmacist. They may be hesitant about talking with a chatbot.
Chatbots are rapidly becoming more sophisticated, though. Soon, even patients who are uncertain about using new technology will realize that they can interact with these forms of artificial intelligence, and it is much more convenient for both them and their doctors when they do so.
Administrative Workflow Assistance
There is a lot of paperwork involved in healthcare. That is true regardless of whether you’re talking about:
- A private practice
- A nursing home
- A hospital
- A free clinic
Much of this was the busywork that humans needed to perform. Rapidly, though, AI is putting those days in the rearview.
AI can digitalize and consolidate healthcare records with speed and accuracy that is impossible for its human counterparts. It can also streamline administrative functions.
AI algorithms can determine when a facility needs a human staff increase, and when only a skeleton crew is necessary. That can save money, which translates to better salaries for the healthcare workers, and reduced patient treatment fees. The annual savings is likely to be in the billions.
Virtual Nursing Assistants
People are already familiar with virtual assistants like Alexa in their homes. The same thing will soon exist for those in nursing homes, hospice care, and other treatment settings.
AI-enabled devices will be able to duplicate the services customarily provided by a human nurse. The robots can go through daily routines, reminding patients when to take their meds, or answering basic questions they have about symptoms they are experiencing. This is another area that is likely to save billions of dollars as we progress further into the 21st century.
At one point, the normalcy of robot-assisted surgery would have seemed completely fantastical. None the less, it is taking place every day and will only increase as time passes.
With AI assistance, surgeons can use tools much more precisely than what was once the case. They can perform highly delicate acts, such as removing tumors that are dangerously close to vital organs.
AI can also allow doctors and surgeons to access medical data in real-time during surgeries. By drawing on information from successful and failed surgeries, a doctor can decide the merits and drawbacks of a particular action. Over time, this can lead to the saving of many patients.
One more area where AI helps is diagnostics. AI can categorize data better than humans can, especially with vast amounts.
When AI can access diagnostic data and patient genetic records and feed it through algorithms, it can predict things like viral outbreaks before they happen. There is no overemphasizing what this can mean for public health.
AI can craft treatment methods that doctors might not have discovered themselves. It can come up with drug combinations or suggestions for clinical trials that might prove to be the way to eradicate diseases that have baffled the medical community. It can also provide the most comprehensive, error-free data from those trials.
Machine learning and AI will save billions of dollars as the year’s pass, as it makes some healthcare methods obsolete and introduces new ones. It will also save countless lives, as both healthcare professionals and patients grow more used to interacting with virtual assistants and robotic ones.
In a hundred years, it will not be unusual to have robots performing surgery on their own. There will be AI-enabled entities running hospital wards with almost no human contact necessary. It’s an exciting prospect and a bit otherworldly.
AI is capable of these sorts of things, though, if we only continue to test its limits. We should embrace this technology rather than fear it.