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Can your smart device perform miracles in modern medicine?

Explore the ways artificial intelligence could transform healthcare.

For most businesses in the healthcare sector, delivering efficient, cost-effective and potentially life-saving services is a critical priority. In the increasingly competitive business of serving an aging population, companies who want to stay on top of the healthcare industry will need to turn to artificial intelligence.

AI-derived business value is expected to top 3.2 trillion by 2022, according to Gartner. “Exploiting the benefits of artificial intelligence will be a major battleground for technology providers through 2022. Using AI in business for targeted purposes delivers more flexible, insightful and increasingly autonomous systems,” says the Gartner report.

Check your smartphone and call me in the morning . . .

When most of us feel unwell, we reach for our phone to make an appointment with our doctor. But in today’s time-constrained world where accessing a doctor is usually done with more traditional channels, could that same phone provide another solution to our healthcare issues?

“AI’s are intended to be intelligent systems that can, in principle, be unleashed on any problem domain. Rapid and independent ‘self-improvement’ of AIs through dueling may lead to breakthroughs in medicine, technology, transportation or other important areas of life,” says Gideon Kimbrell in a recent Forbes magazine article.

What you don’t know, your smart device can tell you

New AI technology is providing answers to the heavy burden on the healthcare system in Canada that could transform the way we care for the sick and elderly.

Using a simple app, patients or medical staff can input, store and retrieve information about healthcare and symptoms that can help diagnose a problem without the patient ever leaving their home. Going forward, AI can track your health and send ongoing information to your doctor, potentially even telling you when you need medical attention before you know it yourself.

According to Indiana University, “ . . . single-decision research can be expanded into models that simulate numerous alternative treatment paths out into the future, maintain beliefs about patient health status over time even when measurements are unavailable or uncertain and continually plan/re-plan as new information becomes available. In other words, it can ‘think like a doctor.’ “

Skip the waiting room, Dr. AI will see you now

Meant to assist doctors in making a diagnosis faster and more accurately, AI can cut the time you need to engage with a doctor to an average of 10 minutes while providing a home-based solution that can significantly contribute to patient health. This means that in the future, people can potentially stay in their own homes longer as they age and take more control over their own healthcare, reducing the burden on hospitals, medical centres and long-term care facilities.

Research in North America found that using AI can reduce diagnosis time by 50 per cent. “Patient data and machine learning algorithms can drastically improve both the cost and quality of healthcare through simulation modeling,” says Lucas Merian in ComputerWorld.

Medical attention that’s there for the long haul

For long-term or assisted living facilities, this presents an important advantage in patient care. Information can be entered in real-time about a resident’s status, monitoring their medications, ongoing symptoms and challenges, doctor visits and even stats like blood pressure, heart rate and mobility. Devices similar to a Fitbit can alert staff and medical professionals of a patient’s status and needs. With AI, the device can track, collect, extrapolate and communicate that information, even making a diagnosis and recommendation to a doctor, who the patient could then see via video connection.

“A recent study led by online health service provider, Babylon Health, found that when answering diagnostic questions typically found on a doctor’s exam in the UK, its AI technology diagnosed patients better than the doctors taking the test, with 81 per cent accuracy compared with an average of 72 per cent over the past five years among real-life doctors,” says Meera Senthilingam at CNN.

Responding faster with more information means patients could live longer with a better quality of life, potentially doing more for themselves, enjoying more freedom and spending less time with a doctor. The cost savings for the patient and the facility are considerable, allowing for more and better care for all residents.

 

Up Next: How ‘digital twin’ technology can improve your products and services.

Sally Moore

Sally Moore is an award-winning writer and business executive, with certificates of achievement from Schulich School of Business and Humber School for Writers. Her writing has been published in newsletters and blogs, national newspapers, and short story and poetry collections. Find her on LinkedIn and learn more here.

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