IT Strategy

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Improve Healthcare

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) will improve healthcare is still in the infancy stage. The healthcare industry has always been one of the first to adopt new technology. A primary requirement of AI in healthcare is to enhance the level of patient care and services. So it really doesn’t come as a surprise that AI in healthcare was $15b in 2022 and projected to reach almost $200b by 2030.

Within the next three years, Allied Market Research expects the global healthcare AI market to be worth approximately $19.9 billion by 2024. Growing at a rate of CAGR of 38.1% from 2021 to 2030. With numbers like this, we just can’t ignore this phenomenon.

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Medical Professionals Agree

According to Dr. Jordan Shlain, M.D., Internal Medicine Physician, Managing Partner at Private Medical and Founder of Healthloop. "We have to have the courage to do things here in health IT because lives and safety and outcomes depend on it. We've spent a lot of time on health IT 1.0. Building the freeways, buying the expensive equipment. Making this work for the system. We're at the point of health IT 2.0 right now, and that's like how do we help the doctors and patients?"

Research also suggests that AI tools for home-based preventive healthcare solutions and AI-based predictive analytics models will save hospitals as much as $52 billion. Led by North American providers who will benefit from $21 billion in savings.

AI in healthcare represents various tools and technologies that enable machines to sense, comprehend, learn. Then, to take action by performing both administrative and clinical function. In contrast, legacy technologies were algorithm-based tools that complimented human functions.

AI in 2019 has the potential to truly augment human activity within the industry. So what can we expect to see over the new year? Let’s take a look.

The Emergence of a Healthcare Digital Workforce

Going forward, healthcare providers will have to go through a cultural change. Once AI technologies are widely accepted and adopted then the advantages will really start to emerge. These projects should incorporate portfolios that include cognitive insights, prioritization algorithms, and operational optimization.

If we take Houston Methodist, for example, we can already see this happening. According to Michelle Stansbury, VP at Houston Methodist. “The system has created a digital workforce receptive to the use of AI and intelligent process automation. Early adopters included supply chain, insurance verification, scheduling, and physician credentialing.”

Stansbury further stressed the importance of stakeholder management whenever an organization starts rolling out AI. As AI rolls out, we have to clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of both bots and people. We want to ensure that the organization functions as expected.

She also emphasized the need to obtain FDA approval for AI algorithms. Once these credential bots go beyond the testing phase and prove their reliability. While all this might sound a little farfetched, I can certainly see it happening, although not immediately.

AI Provides an Instant “Second Opinion”

The ultimate goal of AI in healthcare is to make a highly precise diagnosis within a short period of time. For example, highly sensitive and specific algorithms are training on gold-standard datasets to support medical professionals who screen for pathologies with specialist-level accuracy.

According to a recent study from the European Respiratory Society International Congress. AI and ML technologies are invaluable in helping pulmonologists interpret respiratory symptoms more accurately which help to make a more accurate diagnosis.

This study found that two large hospitals using AI-based software were able to improve diagnoses significantly. This led to Dr. Marko Topalovic (Ph.D.), a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for Respiratory Diseases, Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), to state the following. “We firmly believe that we can empower providers to make their interpretations and diagnoses easier, faster and better. AI will not replace providers, that is certain. However, it is evident that AI will augment our abilities to accomplish more and decrease chances for errors and redundant work.”

AI Is Improving Healthcare

A study focused on 120 pulmonologists from 16 European hospitals, namely in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It made 6000 interpretations of Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT) data from 50 randomly selected patients. It also analyzed the same data, and both results were measured against the gold standard guidelines. The results are as follows:

  • PFTs conducted by the pulmonologists matched the guidelines in 74% of cases (with a range of 56-88%)
  • AI-based software interpretations matched the guidelines perfectly (100%)

As a result, the doctors were able to diagnose the primary disease 45% of the time (with a range of 24-62%). AI, on the other hand, was able to make the correct diagnosis 82% of the time.

These AI, ML, and Deep Learning (DL) models will only get better with time, so it’s safe to say that they will play a critical role in healthcare for years to come.

AI Will Continue to Improve Healthcare

The use cases for the medical industry are growing and staying limited at the same time. From the The Medical Futurist: the regulating adaptive AI algorithms proves to be a challenge and to date, only locked down algorithms are approved.

Doing research with AI for various healthcare disciplines like radiology are taking new turns in medical journal publishing, as outlined by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Popular within the diagnostic imaging space, radiology is one of the leading  innovators using AI to improve lives.

Using an AI engine for radiology can help overloaded healthcare teams feel more confident about their diagnoses. AI is providing information based on real-time data and predictive outcomes. It has the potential to reduce false alarms considerably and helping increase accuracy, reduce speed and ultimately save lives.

AI's Influence in Healthcare

While AI’s influence in healthcare will increase over the next several years. It doesn’t mean that people will be replaced. Healthcare professionals will continue to retain their unique ability to evaluate patients holistically and understand the individual behind the test results.

So the future of AI in healthcare will be more or less the same because it will complement the clinician while enabling the delivery of enhanced personalized care. However, AI will do a lot more than ever before. Considering how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will improve healthcare is at the forefront of every healthcare provider's research and development.

Intersog has been delivering healthcare industry software for decades and leveraging AI in recent years. If you are embarking on AI in healthcare, Intersog is an ideal partner to help you define, construct and deliver an AI innovation that doesn't exist today!

IT Storyteller and Copywriter
Andrew's current undertaking is big data analytics and AI as well as digital design and branding. He is a contributor to various publications with the focus on emerging technology and digital marketing.