What is the future of AI in healthcare? AI or artificial intelligence may seem like a remote concept to some, but the reality is that AI already exists. In what ways can machine intelligence transform the science and practice of medicine?
AI in Healthcare
One application that may hold potential for AI in healthcare is patient diagnosis. Many people like to go online to research symptoms they may be feeling, and find possible explanations. But not all information online is trustworthy, and even worse could lead to attempts at self-diagnosis or pursuit of dubious alternate therapies.
But what if a patient could log on to a program that provided trustworthy and verified health care information? Such software has limitations and would not replace physicians, but would work with them to help diagnose the problem and recommend treatment. Computers are best at storing and collating large amounts of information, and could provide background analysis on symptoms, medical history, predisposing factors, and a host of other types of data. In this case AI in healthcare could encourage tech-savvy patients to work with the health care system, instead of going it alone.
AI in Healthcare: A Better EHR
Another obvious area that could benefit from AI in healthcare is the Electronic Health Record
AI in Healthcare: Smart Equipment
While healthcare lags other industries in the areas of IT and software, there are many ways innovative technology is being used to treat patients every day. Now imagine if all this equipment were augmented with machine intelligence. You could have a diagnostic machine that was able to tell patients what to do and when to do it, and that is connected to the patient’s medical history and able to notify doctors if something unusual is detected in light of that history. Or even more advanced, imagine a laser surgery machine that is capable of doing an entire procedure on its own. Even mundane items like beds can be combined with technology to provide a better patient experience. Of course these innovations will face challenges, but this is yet another way that patients, hospitals, and the medical system as a whole could benefit from AI in healthcare.
AI in Healthcare: Human-Technology Interlink
One interesting though controversial area for AI in healthcare is the possibility for a direct connection between human physiology and technology. Tesla’s Elon Musk has announced plans for a chip to be placed in the human brain, and undoubtedly other ventures will follow suit. Musk hopes the chip can change every aspect of society, from communicating with computers, to actually making people smarter. In the area of medicine, hopes are for the chip be able to diagnose and even cure neurological disease. With the radical nature of concept, there are of course concerns regarding ethics and privacy. Society and science will have to work through these issues to see how far interlink technology can go.
Artificial intelligence is already changing our world, and the question is what effects will be seen in the science and practice of medicine. But it seems now there is no going back as we consider the potential for AI in healthcare.