How Far Has AI Gone In Medicine And Healthcare?

I came to interact with an AI-powered robot doctor in a science fair two years ago which was designed to work as a physician. It measured your height, blood pressure, weight, heart rate, pulse and asked you some questions investigating your workout routine and any disease symptoms if you had and then printed out a prescription with the estimated details. For instance, Mine just told me to exercise more.

This was probably the very basic use of AI in medicine. AI, as well as its use particularly in the medical field, has matured ever since. According to a 2016 study by Frost & Sullivan, the market for AI in healthcare is projected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021. At present, AI devices are being tested for a vast number of tasks in clinics and hospitals, from administrative tasks to medical imaging.

Let’s look at some of the latest advances of AI in different aspects of the medical and healthcare industry:

AI in Administration:

Automation of admin tasks in hospitals or clinics can help nurses and doctors save a lot of time and this could also result in $18 billion in savings for the healthcare industry. Technology could help order tests, prescribe medications, lead patients, write chart notes and other such miscellaneous tasks.

AI was recently used to support admin tasks in a partnership between the Cleveland Clinic and IBM that uses IBM’s Watson to mine big data and help physicians provide a personalized and more efficient treatment experience. One-way Watson supports physicians is being able to analyze thousands of medical papers using natural language processing to inform treatment plans.

Another such example comes from Nuance which provides AI-powered solutions to help doctors cut documentation time and improve reporting quality. Computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) like this offers real-time clinical documentation guidance that helps providers ensure their patients receive accurate consistent recommendations.

AI in Diagnosis:

As, AI can analyze large volumes of data in a blink of eye, it can easily detect diseases and helps with clinical decisions.

AI is extensively used in Cancer Diagnosis now a days. Researchers at Stanford University have created an AI algorithm that can identify and diagnose skin cancer. Chinese researchers have developed an algorithm that can diagnose prostate cancer and detect tumors as accurately as a pathologist. Many such inventions have been made that will help us cut down chronic diseases like cancer on an early stage.

Clinical neuroscience has also benefited from AI. A deep-learning algorithm used MRI of the brain of individuals 6 to 12 months old to predict the diagnosis of autism in individual high-risk children at 24 months, with a positive predictive value of 81%.

Metastasis is a deadly condition, marking the spread of cancer. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is working on an AI program to detect metastasis using high-level image recognition. The program will be able to do this faster than the conventional way, which again translates to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

AI in Surgery:

Surgery is another field highly focused by AI researchers. A lot of new inventions and tests prove that this field will assist a lot from AI in the coming era. A study that involved 379 orthopedic patients found that AI-assisted robotic procedure resulted in five times fewer complications compared to surgeons operating alone.

In the UK, robots are providing new hope by conducting delicate eye operations, where a pair of steady hands is a must. The world's first such operation inside an eye recently took place at an Oxford hospital.

Robots can analyze data from pre-operation medical records to guide a surgeon's instrument during surgery, which can lead to a 21% reduction in a patient's hospital stay. Also, robots can use data via artificial intelligence, from past operations to inform new surgical techniques.

The famous Da Vinci surgical robot is changing the experience of surgery. The Da Vinci System is powered by robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. One of the instruments is a laparoscope a thin tube with a tiny camera and light at the end. This is a huge step in "minimally invasive" surgery.

AI in physiotherapy:

AI is aiding in therapies ranging from physio-therapy to Anxiety-therapy. Well, I have to say computers are getting emotional!

The most recent advancement in this field; A team that won “HealthHack Sydney 2017” worked on a project that captured rehabilitation therapy progress through artificial intelligence. What Physio-ROM invented was a program to track the progress of Range of Motion (ROM) abilities of physiotherapy patients using Computer Vision.

Virtual AI therapist "Ellie" was designed by a team of researchers to treat Anxiety. This is now helping soldiers with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). A great finding is that soldiers feel easy to open-up when they are talking to a robot and thus find relief by sharing their emotions.

Researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre created machine-learning algorithms that achieved 80%–90% accuracy when predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next 2 years, and 92% accuracy in predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next week. In other words, when it comes to predicting suicide attempts, AI appears to be better than human beings.

AI in Radiology:

AI can be much more precise than humans in spotting even the smallest detail in medical imaging reports such as mammograms and CT scans.

AI aided medical image diagnosis from Beijing-based artificial intelligence high-tech company, Infervision, is being used to improve reading CT scans and x-rays. This allows doctors to provide patients with an early diagnosis as opposed to sending tissue samples to a lab for analysis, thereby providing treatments earlier than usual.

Currently, image analysis is very time consuming for human providers, but an MIT-led research team developed a machine-learning algorithm that can analyze 3D scans up to 1,000 times faster than what is possible today. AI image analysis could support remote areas that don’t have easy access to health care providers and even make telemedicine more effective as patients can use their camera phones to send in pics of rashes, cuts or bruises to determine what care is necessary.

We hope that the above mentioned and upcoming inventions prove a lot helpful for the humanity. Which of these you find most amazing? Do let us know in the comments. Stay tuned for updates on AI in other fields and industries.

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