If you’re searching for an industry that’s defined by innovation and technological progression, look no further than health care. The health care industry is the poster child for the application of new technology. Despite heavy regulations and high barriers to entry, it continues to be a sector where major breakthroughs happen on a regular basis.

SwissCognitiveSo, is the health care industry ready for a breakthrough when it comes to artificial intelligence? The building blocks are in place, and opportunities certainly exist, but can the industry overcome significant challenges?

The rise of AI

“I have no doubt that sophisticated learning and AI algorithms will find a place in health care over the coming years,” says Andy Shuetz , a senior data scientist at Sutter Health. “I don’t know if it’s two years or ten – but it’s coming.”

Shuetz hits the proverbial nail on the head with this statement. Nobody doubts AI and health care will be intertwined for decades to come. The only uncertainty is when it’ll explode onto the scene.

The best way to describe the current state of AI in health care is by looking at an analogy of a big balloon filled with air. The air, being AI innovation, wants to escape the balloon and disperse into the environment which would be the health care industry in this scenario. But the latex balloon, which represents the industry challenges, is holding the air inside.

The metaphorical balloon isn’t tied, though. Instead, there’s someone holding the mouth of the balloon between two fingers. Every so often, the fingers loosen and some air seeps out. Then they close again, and the remaining air stays trapped inside.

While all the air will eventually leak out via this process, it’s slow and inefficient. What really needs to happen is for someone to grab a needle, the smallest will do, and puncture the latex. Once this happens, the balloon will collapse, and the air will rapidly rush out.

There’s so much potential for AI in the medical field. The innovation happening behind closed doors is astounding. However, there are still technological, psychological, and regulatory limitations and challenges holding things back. A breakthrough is imminent. The only question is when? […]

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