Twenty Ideas Blog
A big-picture look at AI's expected impact in healthcare
9 min read
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming our world in countless ways, from streamlining workflows to enhancing decision-making processes. Arguably, one of AI's greatest potential areas of impact is healthcare. AI is increasingly being used to help diagnose diseases, create personalized treatment plans, and predict patient survival rates, revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
This article provides a comprehensive look at the different types of AI in healthcare – its applications, benefits, and top trends for 2023. Rather than replacing healthcare providers, AI systems can assist them in numerous areas, including healthcare analytics, personalized medicine, disease prediction, and test interpretation.
The healthcare industry has historically been hesitant to invest in new technologies. However, with recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), professionals in this space have come to recognize AI's potential to revolutionize healthcare diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Leading companies worldwide are already embracing artificial intelligence to improve healthcare. In particular, AI has the potential to provide personalized and real-time medical advice, diagnosis and treatment support, disease prediction, improved health outcomes, cost reduction, and drug development support. With the health sector facing unprecedented challenges related to staffing, provider burnout, mental health services demand, persistent care inequality, long-term pandemic response planning, and more, finding ways to leverage AI to better serve patients and providers will be crucial in the years ahead.
AI refers to dynamic computer systems and software that can perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. Types of work being targeted with AI include problem-solving, learning, understanding natural language, speech recognition, visual perception, planning, and decision-making.
AI can be broadly classified into two categories:
AI systems rely on approaches such as machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks, to learn from data, recognize patterns, and make decisions.
As we have mentioned, AI encompasses a range of distinct yet interconnected processes. Some of the most prevalent forms of AI employed in healthcare are:
Artificial intelligence-based technologies are utilized in various ways across industries. In the healthcare field, researchers do not anticipate that AI will replace professionals in the near future, but rather envision that it will assist and enhance the work of healthcare providers. Some prevalent applications of AI in healthcare today include:
The healthcare industry has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including staff shortages, supply disruptions, and inadequate access to equipment and facilities. Artificial intelligence can be a valuable tool in addressing these issues, with many companies already utilizing AI to improve healthcare outcomes. Some examples of AI applications transforming healthcare include:
The anticipated cost savings cited above are derived from data presented by Accenture in their report titled "AI: Healthcare's New Nervous System."
The medical industry is on the verge of a paradigm shift, propelled by rapid artificial intelligence (AI) technology advancements. AI is transforming numerous aspects of healthcare, including diagnosis, therapy, and administration, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and promoting more efficient care delivery. Let's look at some of the most compelling benefits of AI in healthcare and its potential to shape the future of medicine.
One of the most significant advantages of AI in healthcare is its ability to assist in early and accurate diagnoses. AI-powered algorithms can analyze medical images and pathology slides with remarkable precision, often equaling or surpassing the accuracy of human experts. This ability leads to faster diagnoses and helps avoid misdiagnoses, which can have severe consequences for patients. With AI, doctors can identify diseases earlier, leading to better treatment outcomes and potentially saving lives.
AI enables a new era of personalized medicine, tailoring treatments to individual patients’ unique genetic, clinical, and lifestyle profiles. By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI can identify specific risk factors and recommend customized treatment plans. This targeted approach can optimize therapeutic outcomes while minimizing side effects, ensuring patients receive the most effective care possible.
The drug discovery process is traditionally time-consuming and expensive. However, AI has the potential to revolutionize this process by analyzing large datasets to identify potential drug candidates and predict their effectiveness and safety. This can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with drug development, bringing new and innovative therapies to patients faster than ever before.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants provide patients with valuable information, guidance, and support in managing their health conditions. These tools can help patients by answering questions, scheduling appointments, and sending medication reminders, allowing them to take a more active role in their healthcare and improving overall satisfaction.
AI can harness the power of predictive analytics by analyzing data from various sources, such as electronic health records, social determinants of health, and wearable devices. Healthcare providers can intervene early and avoid complications or deterioration of health conditions by identifying patterns and predicting patient outcomes.
AI is making a name for itself in the operating room by assisting surgeons during difficult surgical procedures. By providing real-time guidance and enhancing precision, AI can reduce the risk of complications and improve patient outcomes. Robotic surgery with AI assistance is becoming more common, ushering in a new era of minimally invasive and highly accurate surgical interventions.
Key AI-related trends in the healthcare sector include:
In healthcare, RPA solutions automate processes, minimize errors, and reduce costs. By 2030, the RPA market in healthcare is expected to reach $6.2 billion.
AI systems will use massive amounts of data to make accurate predictions and recommendations for personalized treatments, magnifying the impacts of customized health care.
Emotion AI in telemedicine apps can assist doctors in better understanding and interpreting patients' emotions, allowing them to provide more meaningful and engaging care to patients struggling with mental health or who identify as neurodivergent.
Advancements in legislation and regulations around healthcare AI, addressing issues such as data sharing and individual data protection, will reduce uncertainty for innovators in the space while safeguarding the rights of users.
With personal vital and behavior data being collected at an increasing rate, AI can analyze data from imaging, EMR, and wearable devices to help provide personalized healthcare recommendations.
AI can accelerate drug discovery and development, with the market expected to surpass $4 billion by 2027.
More efforts will be made to tackle AI bias, with organizations using AI in healthcare implementing guidelines and oversight mechanisms to assemble and select unbiased, representative data sets and ensure responsible use.
AmI combines AI, IoT, big data, and NLP to create adaptive environments that respond to human needs, potentially reducing patients' waiting times and automating emergency care support.
A wider range of healthcare applications are expected to emerge in the near future, including drug discovery, development, and tools that improve the efficiency and accuracy of medical research.
These ingestible electronic devices can provide non-invasive diagnostic imaging, vital sign monitoring, and targeted drug delivery.
As AI begins to play a more significant role in healthcare, health tech creators and users will need to establish a healthy working relationship with AI, emphasizing the need for human oversight, consistent policies, and solid procedures.
AI can help diagnose and treat chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, by analyzing vast amounts of diagnostic data for improved accuracy in treatment.
Increased automation in healthcare will be seen in tasks such as managing patient records, scheduling appointments, and coordinating care, improving efficiency and the overall patient experience.
The broader adoption of AI in healthcare has opened up a myriad of opportunities for improving practices and raising our expectations for more effective treatments. The accuracy and efficiency of AI-driven solutions are expected to continually improve as technology advances, further revolutionizing the sector.
AI's impact on healthcare is multifaceted, containing potential to transform disease diagnosis, personalized medicine, drug discovery, and patient care. Early and accurate diagnoses, enabled by AI-powered algorithms, can lead to better treatment outcomes and potentially save lives by identifying diseases in their nascent stages. With the assistance of AI, doctors can make more informed decisions and devise patient-specific treatment plans, ensuring that individuals receive the most suitable care.
Furthermore, AI accelerates drug discovery by rapidly identifying potential drug candidates and predicting their efficacy and safety, thereby reducing the time and cost associated with traditional drug development. This will ultimately bring innovative therapies to patients at a much faster pace.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual health assistants empower patients by providing valuable information, guidance, and support in managing their health conditions. These tools allow patients to take a more active role in their healthcare, which can improve user outcomes and experience in meaningful ways.
In addition to these benefits, AI is poised to make significant strides in other areas of healthcare, such as emotion AI for mental health disorders and autism, data-driven personalized healthcare, smart pills, chronic disease diagnosis, and improved automation. The continued exploration and development of AI applications in healthcare promises to unlock even more possibilities and further advance the sector.
Jana DiSanti leads content strategy for Twenty Ideas. She brings nearly a decade of digital marketing, content creation, user research, and project management expertise to the table to advance the goals of the 20i agency and its clients. She specializes in promoting brands and products focused on improving the health of people, communities, and the planet.
by this author