Few industries are more ripe for technological disruption than healthcare. This is a multi-trillion dollar sector of the economy which has yet to see the kind of technological breakthroughs that brought us the internet, mobile phones or the gig economy. Slowly but surely, new technologies are working their way into everyday use for doctors and hospitals. One of the most promising tech innovations so far is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
One area where we see the use of AI and machine learning is in the support provided to doctors and other healthcare professionals. Menial tasks including medical record management and summaries can now be assigned to software robots. These help keep hospitals organized and smaller practices on track by speeding up communication and providing red flags and alerts before something goes wrong. Organizational duties, however, are just the beginning.
Medical imaging is already benefiting greatly from artificial intelligence. Google has made its DeepMind tech available to help speed up analysis and understanding of x-rays and MRIs. THis means that, by the time a radiologist is looking at the image, they have a larger sum of information to use in getting the proper diagnosis right away.
Another area of growth in AI-assisted healthcare can be found in the world of apps. The ubiquity of smartphones and the public’s interest in new applications and fresh technology means this is a sure-fire way to get patients and consumers to try emerging tech. Apps can use their robotic infrastructure to ask the right questions and get the beginnings of a diagnosis before an actual human even gets involved.
Apps are able to do more than just basic triage. In the mental health field, there are apps for meditation, counseling, weight loss and exercise. These utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to make choices and tailor care to meet an individual’s specific needs. Even though many people may be using the same app, they will have a different experience because modern technology can now eschew a one-size-fits all approach.
We may be a long way from having an actual robot doctor who can autonomously prescribe medication and perform procedures, but things are moving in that direction. Both patients and healthcare providers are now benefitting from the speed and analysis that AI can bring, and we can expect more from technology in the days to come.