We all know technology is a driver of change. Much of the development and improvements we’ve seen in the healthcare industry today as compared to 20, 10, or even five years ago, have been a direct result of technological innovation. As technology continues to get smarter, faster and more reliable, it seems like the possibilities are endless.


Copyright: venturebeat.com – “A modern-day revolution: How AI could transform the healthcare industry”


Artificial intelligence (AI), and especially machine learning (ML), are likely to have a tremendous impact on the future of the healthcare industry for patients, physicians and medical researchers. As one example, according to a 2016 study out of Johns Hopkins, medical errors stemming from individual and/or system-level mistakes were identified as the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Utilizing AI technologies in healthcare settings focused on patient treatment and care can help reduce this number. Yet it will take some work to get there. More education on the benefits of AI technologies, as well as the ways to properly incorporate these technologies, is necessary before we will see widespread adoption across the healthcare industry.

What can AI do?

One of the primary questions being asked about AI and ML today is seemingly the most basic – how these technologies can be most effectively used. What do I as a physician or healthcare organization get from applying AI in my practice or hospital? What are the critical use cases? How will this technology ultimately benefit my patients?

At a foundational level, artificial intelligence can act as a prescreening tool for doctors, providing them with key pieces of background information on the patient before they are seen. Then these technologies can provide augmentation, acting as a second opinion on treatment and diagnosis.

Providing triage and diagnostic data

We know there is a significant correlation between those who smoke cigarettes and those diagnosed with lung cancer. However, many other factors (occupation, chemical exposures, medications, supplements) may contribute to or increase an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer.

An intelligent virtual assistant, also known as a chatbot, may be used to navigate an initial conversation with a patient to collect health history, symptoms or other important information – ideally before they even set foot in their physician’s office. This data can then be used as input to an ML model that provides the patient with initial triage/diagnostic data – while offering the doctors an overall risk score or probability that a patient may develop lung cancer. Research has shown the results of AI-based triaging to be comparable to the accuracy of human doctors, so there is a great deal of potential here.[…]

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