4 AI Trends that are Disrupting Healthcare Industry

Jun 14, 2017 5:30:47 PM

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

To me, nothing seems more fascinating than the fact that machine, a manifestation of human knowledge, could be developed to such an extent that it is able to be on par with human. Be it self-driving vehicles, the infamous Chess match or Google's Alpha Go, technology is giving end-to-end competition to humans. With rapid advancement of technology and automation, there is rarely a field left untouched by the machines. One such field is the healthcare industry.

More and more people are becoming concerned about their health everyday. Even the consumer trend shows that the society is becoming health conscious. With people joining gym classes, jogging or even a early morning walk in the park, they all are concerned about their health. Why shouldn’t they be, after all health is one of the most important aspect in one’s life.

But what if someone gets sick and needs treatment? Solution? Let's go to the hospital or consult a doctor. But, there is no denying the fact that there is a shortage of good doctors. Even, searching for the term ‘lack of doctors’ on google shows the various reports, in different countries. According to a report, 27% of deaths in india and 32% of the deaths worldwide were due to lack of access to surgery or anaesthesia.No one should suffer or be inaccessible to treatment just because either there are too many patients or there are too less doctors. We need a system to automate various process and as well as a system to help in decision making. Hence the AI.

How does AI help ?

1. Chatbots

(Scenario 1)

Imagine yourself having a headache.The first question that comes to the mind is “Why am I having a headache” ? Is it because sitting in front of your laptop’s screen for too long?

Or maybe you heard one of the Justin Bieber’s song. We probably will sleep over it and hope the headache is gone by the time we wake up. What if your headache is also accompanied by high fever. We will probably take a medicine advised by some family member, friend or the medicine you have been taking whenever this situation arises and hope health goes back to normal tomorrow. The point is, there is no system that will recommend you what action should you choose based on your own personal condition. Hence the chatbots.

(Scenario 2)

There are a lot of situations where a patient just needs an advice or assistance regarding his problem, rather than a full medical care. In many cases, people tend to rush to doctor out of their nervousness, confusion on even catching a cold while some people choose to ignore symptoms that may be of a serious health disease. Internet is good source of information but it’s difficult to find a good and reliable source. Plus people generally  don’t find an advice specific to their conditions based on their past and present facts. Personal Assistants will be able to provide user with information regarding what he/she should do, based on the questions asked, thus saving a lot of time and guiding user as to what action he/she should choose next.

Chatbots are capable of suggesting you with solutions to your problem, based on the questions asked during conversation. They can be implemented using Long short-term memory cells. LSTM is a type of recurrent neural network which is capable of learning long term dependency.This ‘long term dependency’ here refers to the fact that the bot is able to answer your questions based on previous conversations.

2. Design Treatment Plans

There is no end to the amount of medical records, papers, history available if one wishes to discover. This data, often referred as “Big Data” can be utilized  in order to design a treatment plan by identifying the type of problem and its solution. Based on the patient’s details, it is able to detect the disease and even suggest solution for it. For example: Google’s Deepmind Project mines the patient’s data for providing better treatment to them.

We can implement a similar system using Deep learning, where multiple hidden layers are used in order to find pattern between stored medical database and patient’s medical records and provide suggestion based on it. Google shares a research paper  where it designs a system to detect Diabetic eye disease.


3. Drugs

Guess what is the time and money required to develop new pharmaceutical drug? It’s 12 years and $2.6 billion. What if all this huge amount of time and money could be shortened using your machines instead of test tubes. Deep learning can also be implemented in order to develop new drugs or to provide labs with environment for their testing. For example: Atomwise uses AI to accelerate drug discovery for diseases like Ebola, multiple sclerosis, and leukemia.

4. Robots

Whenever someone discusses the term AI, most people visualize it with robots.Though AI is much more broader concept than that, robots also find multiple applications in the healthcare industry.

  • In Belgian Hospitals, robots are used to greet people as well as react based on emotions. It could also be used as a support tool in the paediatric and geriatric departments.
  • Therapeutic robots provide assistance for patients to improve quality of life, reducing social service required.
  • Robotic Surgery assist doctors to treat patients with precision, decreased blood loss, less pain etc. It also ascertains quicker healing as compared to traditional methods. It removes the possibility of tissue trauma, as well as provides doctor with opportunity for remote surgery.
  • Germ-Zapping Robots are being used to disinfect rooms, reducing deaths due to hospital acquired infections.

AI is already being used in the medical sector and shows promising results. We can’t deny the fact that using AI reduces time and efforts required to treat a patient. A lot of doctor’s time would be saved if he had some assistance thus allowing him to focus on more important tasks. With such advancement in technology it would be one’s stubbornness to not to look towards the bright future.

Kartik Kakar

Written by Kartik Kakar

Lead Marketer at Daffodil Software. Inbound Marketer with a passion for technology and cool stuff.