AI in Healthcare: A New Age Of Medical Management
There are high hopes that AI will be the saving grace of 21st century healthcare. Here, we cut through the hype, outlining some of the innovative ways in which AI is transforming the healthcare industry.
Optimising Patient Experience
AI is becoming increasingly important in facilitating seamless patient experiences, ensuring that only those in need attend healthcare facilities and guiding hospital management to permit efficient patient flows.
For example, Babylon Health have developed an AI system that enables personalised and interactive healthcare. A chatbot first uses natural language processing capabilities to converse with a patient, analysing their symptoms or concerns and responding with recommendations. The bot either suggests that the patient have a virtual over-the-phone check-up, or arranges a face-to-face meeting with the appropriate healthcare professional. Consequently, the booking process is streamlined as only those in need visit the GP, reducing waiting times while maintaining high levels of care.
Similarly, Qventus’ system is aiding with operations within hospitals. Their automated platform capably identifies rooms for in-patients while prioritising based on the severity of conditions. It also tracks individual waiting times to optimise patient flow and even computes efficient ambulance routes to ensure quality services at critical times.
AI Medical Assistants in healthcare
Radiology assistants – like those provided by Zebra Medical Vision – are becoming increasingly popular in medical circles. These AI-driven devices receive imaging scans and use computer vision technology to identify clinical anomalies. The system’s findings are assessed by radiologists who consider the AI’s verdict when making their final decisions and diagnoses.
Similarly, robot-assisted surgery is receiving a lot of attention at present. Robots, complete with cameras, mechanical arms and surgical instruments, collaborate with doctors to bolster the safety, precision and reliability of surgical procedures. For example, The ROSA robotic assistant is aiding neurosurgeons during complex brain surgery. Rosa software first takes a 3D scan of the brain and maps out a precise pathway that the surgical procedure should follow. A surgeon then follows this pathway using ROSA’s robotic arm, thus maximising precision while maintaining freedom of movement. With ROSA’s success in aiding complex procedures such as biopsies and epilepsy surgical evaluations, it is likely that robotic assistants will become a crucial addition to the surgeons’ toolkit.
Smart assistive devices are also emerging in the world of healthcare. This technology can ease the load for carers who are under pressure to cope with increasingly aged populations.
For example, AI tech can aid those caring for dementia patients. Fitted with GPS systems, these devices can track patients and inform carers when they are out of bounds or unsafe. Similarly, they can monitor vital signs and alert caregivers of any anomalies or concerns.
This can be taken further with the development of smart glasses that aim to prolong the independence of dementia patients. Such a device would have a range of in-built features to permit it to act as a complete caring aid. Facial recognition algorithms would inform the wearer (the patient) as to the identity of the person they are currently looking. Consequently, patients can feel safe and re-assured when encountering carers or relatives in their own homes. Similarly, object recognition technology would tell the patient what an object is and what it is used for. This would aid basic activities such as combing hair or brushing teeth.
Thereupon, while this technology may not help those at later stages of dementia, it can certainly provide assistance for less severe cases. Thus, patients can remain independent for longer and, with AI’s support, healthcare professionals can devote their time to a greater number of beneficiaries.
Great Potential for AI in Healthcare
Evidently, AI has the potential to provide a valuable helping hand to healthcare systems that are under increasing pressure to manage ageing populations. With innovative solutions like those discussed in this article, AI can transform traditional processes and guide a healthcare revolution.