Posted: 30 May 2018 Contributor: Therese Palmere
How the Healthcare Industry is Evolving with Artificial Intelligence
Much like every other industry, the healthcare industry is undergoing a major digital revolution; in doing so, it’s having an identity crisis. Processes, procedures and equipment have all been deemed ‘archaic’ by consumers and company executives alike. So much so that corporate behemoths like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase decided to team up and to try tackle America’s costly healthcare system.
These giants aren’t the only companies looking to make waves in the healthcare industry, though. With the development of healthcare still in its infancy, tech companies like Apple and Facebook and ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are looking to be part of the evolution as well. Most of their solutions include a more comprehensive inclusion of artificial intelligence in the healthcare market. This blog post will walk you through the top uses and applications of AI in healthcare and how they’re projected to change the industry.
AI in Healthcare 2018
It may not seem like it, but artificial intelligence is widely used in healthcare today. One area where AI is particularly effective is cybersecurity. Healthcare cybersecurity experts have long recognized that “AI has the ability to enhance technology’s ability to identify malicious activity and attackers to protect systems and data.” Like a digital marketing agency, the use of this technology in healthcare helps keep valuable patient and hospital data safe with running algorithms that detect bad behavior.
Artificial intelligence is also used to help build robots that aid in medical procedures and modifying prosthetic limbs. These computers aren’t just matching images or identifying sequences; they’re learning to recognize objects and group them. In the case of prosthetic hands, these machines can identify certain items and determine what kind of grasp type is appropriate to use. These innovations are only some examples of artificial intelligence in healthcare. The application of this technology is endless, and this year tech companies are looking to blur the line between what is science fiction and reality.
Where the Application of AI in Healthcare Is Going
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase decided to disrupt the current healthcare system because of how costly and complex it is. This feeling is synonymous with many consumers across America as the rising cost of healthcare is felt by them as well. While there has yet to be a substantial solution to this issue, artificial intelligence proposes a promising answer that could be the key to reducing administrative costs in the healthcare industry.
With the help of artificial intelligence, non-clinical workers can spend more time assisting nurses and doctors with urgent matters rather than focusing on completing administrative tasks. In fact, “[s]ome applications of AI on the administrative end of health care include voice-to-text transcriptions that automate non-patient care activities like writing chart notes, prescribing medications, and ordering tests.” According to VentureBeat, this application of AI into healthcare has an estimated value of $18 million!
Another way tech companies are looking to change healthcare with artificial intelligence is by changing the power dynamic. Apple recently announced they will be partnering with over 40 health systems to help empower patients with their own health information through an app. The app, which will draw data from participating hospitals and clinics, will allow users full access to their health records. These custom web development services and the use of patient data has not only piqued the interest of Apple but Facebook as well. But instead of accumulating data for patients, Facebook is looking to use the data to assist and inform doctors and healthcare professionals with treatment. A Facebook spokesperson commented on the project to Verge, saying, “[i]nstead the focus would be on producing general insights that would help medical professionals take social connectedness into account as they develop treatment or intervention programs for their patients.” This information could change the way physicians and healthcare professionals treat their patients. But is it safe?
The Challenges Artificial Intelligence May Face
The recent scandal between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica has brought up a lot of concerns about whether or not user data is being properly protected on the internet. This issue has been discussed countless times and has been questioned even more so now that artificial intelligence is becoming more prominent in technology. Paul Clark, Director of Healthcare Research for Digital Reasoning, commented on Facebook’s healthcare initiative and said that “[s]uch a strategy questions about both medical privacy and over-utilization from supplier-induced demand.” All this begs the question, is your medical data really safe with artificial intelligence?
For Tammy Dobbs, she found out the hard way that you can’t always trust artificial intelligence. Living with cerebral palsy, she moved to Arkansas where she trusted a state program to take care of her medical needs. Under the program, the initial care she had received was 56 hours, which would be provided by a caregiver helping her conduct basic tasks. Unfortunately, her time was almost cut in half when as assessor announced that under the new system (run by artificial intelligence), she would only be receiving 32 hours per week. Her response to this mistake was to ask the company in charge of her care “to return to the human-based assessment.” While artificial intelligence has many capabilities that could transform and evolve the healthcare industry, there are still many tasks that can only be effectively done by humans.
There’s no question that the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare has huge potential. AI could change the way patients interact with physicians, how doctors determine treatment, and it could even reduce the overall cost of healthcare for everyone. But there are still larger implications that tech companies, hospitals and health systems need to address before AI can be used on a much larger scale. Let’s look back at how AI is evolving in the healthcare industry:
- AI is helping cybersecurity experts identify malicious activities
- This technology is also helping machines deliver more accurate results to patients, especially in the case of prosthetic limbs
- With the help of AI, healthcare administrative costs could be drastically reduced
- Artificial intelligence could also help empower patients
- Users must be wary of the possible dangers of uploading healthcare records online
- Although AI is an incredible application, there are some jobs which should be reserved for humans
Now that you’ve read about some of the ways artificial intelligence is changing healthcare, which use was the most interesting to you? Where do you think artificial intelligence will stand with the healthcare industry in 5 years? Write your thoughts in the comments below!