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AI brings fundamental changes in medicine

Artificial intelligence (AI) deployment in healthcare proves to be a game-changer for the challenging environment of medical industry as health AI apps demonstrate great capabilities  in managing communications between doctors and patients, delivering reliable and accurate diagnosis, reducing the risk of complications as well as percentage of patients’ readmission, and drug discovery, to name a few. 

While searching for ways of making diagnoses precise and fast, IBM was one of the pioneers that introduced AI for medical needs by offering clinicians Watson system to help oncologists in selecting the optimal treatment plans based on individual patient data. 

In addition, the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare facilitates the market growth by creating new business opportunities for healthcare service providers. In particular, studies show that implementing clinical health artificial intelligence applications can save up to $150 billion yearly for the U.S. healthcare economy by 2026.

According to AI in Healthcare Magazine, artificial intelligence is one of the major foundations in building better healthcare. The data-driven approach determined the current trend for wide implementation of AI in healthcare due to its wide capabilities in inputting, cleaning, gathering, integrating, processing and safeguarding medical data, which makes a positive impact on clinical outcomes, rates of survival, and the increase of speed in healthcare provision.

 AI is widely applied in machine learning that provides methods for delivering solutions of diagnostic and prognostic problems in a variety of medical domains. 

Machine learning utilizes statistical techniques when processing data, which ensures identification of clinical patterns alongside with minimizing human direction.

Artificial intelligence in healthcare: Future possibilities  

Artificial intelligence named as a ‘self-running engine for growth’ has a huge potential in the healthcare sector in terms of future prospects. 

The medical fields of health AI apps implementation cover medical trials, drug discovery, clinical research, surgery robotics, biomedical engineering, etc. Furthermore, its deep potential can project in creating personalized medicine and achieving zero error rate when defining the treatment strategies. 

Overall, 84% of enterprises claim that investments into AI-based technology will definitely benefit their business even under the conditions of increased competitiveness. AI advancement at a rapid speed in healthcare determines the prospect of estimating health AI market annual growth at 40% by 2021.

Artificial intelligence in healthcare market  

AI-based apps can not only empower a healthcare service provider with relevant data management, diagnostic and drug development tools but also strengthen the company's presence in the healthcare market by the fact of investment into creating a perfect mix of human mind and innovative technology for delivering the best results in terms of patient engagement, positive customer experience, administrative routine reduction and, hence, overall business growth.

The global market of artificial intelligence in healthcare is expected to increase to $28 billion by 2025. Almost a quarter (24%) of health AI apps in the global healthcare market pertain to development personal health and nursing assistants, and 20% of apps deliver monitoring solutions to customers in real-time. 11% of available apps are designed to facilitate administrative workflow and optimize task management in the healthcare sector.

Source: Accenture analysis

These numbers confirm that AI having an impressive potential for transforming healthcare can improve the quality and speed of medical service in almost all the medical fields by automating administrative tasks, simplifying the procedures and improving communication between doctors and patients.   

Application of artificial intelligence in healthcare 

Artificial Intelligence use cases in healthcare cover various areas due to the powerful ability of algorithms to bring the breakthrough practical solutions to lots of medical fields. 

  • Diagnostics 

Artificial intelligence supplies healthcare providers with mechanisms of more accurate estimations of clinical attributes, which means that clinicians get the material for generating new approaches to shaping hypotheses as well as conducting standard diagnostic processes more effectively. 

For example, sophisticated health AI apps are currently used to analyze the DNA data for forecasting probable diseases. Currently, artificial intelligence in healthcare is also used for medical imaging analysis and collecting data within patient medical records. In particular, it transformed the procedure of MRI scans analysis and made it a considerably less complex process.

  • Robot-assisted surgery

Robotic surgeries become a wide-spread phenomenon. Overall, in the US, 693,000 robotic-assisted procedures were performed in 2017. With AI-based tools, surgeons can make more precise incisions, which in the long run greatly benefits both doctors and patients by reducing risks of complications.

Moreover, surgeons employ AI for data processing in real-time during operations. One such surgical robot is the Da Vinci:  this surgical system allows medical professionals to implement complex procedures with higher flexibility while performing surgeries.

  • Precision medicine

Artificial intelligence operating on algorithms when combined with analysis of genomes brings revolutionary results in terms of developing the precision medicine addressing the medical needs of the individual patient. 

  • Virtual nursing assistants

Since the need for medical assistance has been growing, the development of AI-based virtual nursing assistants has been on the rise too. 

For example, a virtual nurse Sensely operates on Natural Language Processing and speech recognition mechanism, which allows it to integrate with medical devices wirelessly and provide wide medical assistance to patients.

  • Automation of Processes

Healthcare practitioners have to consume too much time while performing routine tasks instead of focusing on interaction with patients. The AI software can facilitate the administrative routine and manage repetitive tasks including staff training, billing, processing enrollments, and tracking the medical staff work hours.  

  •  Treatment plan design  

The input data is a great source for deep and insightful clinical analysis that is crucial at the stage of planning the treatment. 

Therefore, AI healthcare solutions can assist medical experts in realizing the individual approach to creating treatment plans tailored to the condition of a patient.

  • Clinical trials

Applying artificial intelligence proves to be an optimal way of accelerating the data delivery to facilitate the clinical trial process. AI-based models significantly facilitate trial design due to application of AI-based tools for patient recruitment. As a result, with usage of AI-based monitoring systems, the considerable decrease of dropout rates can be observed.  

  • Drug development and discovery

The drug development industry is greatly challenged by research cost and price of development costs in addition to issues pertaining to excessive time utilization. 

The cost of clinical trials for drugs before approving their manufacturing can reach up to $2.6 billion with uncertain prospect of successful results. These hurdles made lots of pharmaceutical companies turn to applying such robot researchers for bringing more accurate results within the drug discovery.

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Major market players in AI-based healthcare sector 

Deep Genomics (Canada). The innovative solution that the company offers is its artificial intelligence platform that ensures directing drugs to the best-suited candidates. The company also operates in the domain of detection diseases by applying biologically accurate AI technology.

Bioxel Therapeutics  (the US). The company offers a drug re-innovation program that employs AI for identifying new patients and developing new drugs. Actually, their work in AI-based drug development got recognition as “Most Innovative Healthcare AI Developments of 2019."

Babylon Health (GB, the US). Babylon is an innovative provider of healthcare service marked with high accessibility and affordability for patients worldwide. It ensures personalized healthcare with the option of making face-to-face appointments with doctors in real-time.

Butterfly Network (the US). This digital health company specializes in making medical imaging internationally accessible and cost-effective. The company created Butterfly iQ, the world’s first handheld whole-body ultrasound system connecting to users’ smartphones directly.

AiCure (the US). AiCure is a data analytics company that collects and applies video, audio and behavioral data for fostering effective communication between doctors and patients and choosing the optimal treatment by utilizing clinical and patient information.

Zebra Medical Vision (Israel). It supplies AI-enabled assistants to medical professionals working worldwide. With these assistants, medical service providers receive automatically analyzed imaging scans necessary in conducting clinical findings (in particular, Zebra Medical’s scoring algorithm uses approved standards to produce instant automatic calculation of the Coronary Calcium Scores).

Olive (the US).Olive is a provider of healthcare service that implements healthcare’s robotic processes to offload human workforce. Olive delivers solutions that allow medical service providers to minimize costly administrative errors. Olive operates as a digital employee routing information and data between systems and automating repetitive tasks or workflows. 

The number of companies employing AI-based tools for the healthcare sector increase because of the tendency for expanding usage of artificial intelligence in the medical industry.

Acquisitions of AI startups are rapidly increasing while the health AI market is set to register an explosive CAGR of 40% through 2021. (Source: Accenture analysis)

Future of AI in Healthcare and Challenges of Adoption 

It is statistically confirmed that both medical experts and medical service consumers welcome artificial intelligence-led decisions and opt for data-driven medicine due to the fact that health AI apps demonstrate: 

  • the ability to reduce up to 30% on administrative cost in healthcare
  • wide functionality of health AI apps and a variety of solutions they deliver to the medical industry. 

However, complexity of healthcare innovation might set regulatory and technological barriers in adoption of health AI apps. 

Among the biggest challenges that AI implementation comes across, there are issues mostly pertaining to legal and data privacy domains. Besides, AI as one of the top technologies, requires special training for the users wishing to explore AI capabilities in full. 

Apparently, the AI-based apps adoption implies a complex multistage process requiring the service of the software development company with the wide expertise in delivering custom solutions when it concerns:  

  • Compliance to regulations
  • Data privacy observation
  • Stakeholder complexities
  • Assessing risks 
  • Training in AI systems usage.  

Expansion of the healthcare market as well as the growing demand for digital solutions in healthcare determines the further increase of development of health AI-based tools as the example of a nascent trend of implementing cognitive technological innovations on the global healthcare market.

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