Artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant advancements in the healthcare industry since its emergence in the 1970s.
AI refers to the development and utilisation of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. By employing artificial intelligence, machines learn and make decisions similar to or exceeding human capabilities.
This article explores the various applications of AI in the healthcare industry, its benefits, and its disadvantages.
Applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Healthcare Industry
1. Processing patients’ data
Artificial intelligence is highly valuable when it comes to processing patients’ data. It helps in the detection of irregularities and diseases affecting the human body. By quickly deciphering scans and X-rays, they identify abnormalities and assist radiologists in making accurate diagnoses. Additionally, AI can retain and process a wide range of patients’ information such as medical records quickly, enabling it to provide accurate recommendations regarding their conditions
2. Virtual assistants and chat box
AI provides essential medical assistance, gives tips and offers advice to patients in a bid to alleviate medical practitioners of their workload or a temporary substitute in cases of unavailability. Virtual assistants and chat boxes serve as the initial point of patient support in the absence of a healthcare professional.
Artificial intelligence has significantly improved the radiology department by facilitating various scans such as computerised tomography (CT). Through the use of AI algorithms, these scans can be effectively conducted and their reports thoroughly analysed. This lessens the burden of medical practitioners and allows more time to be allocated to other patients
4. Drug discovery
Through machine language, AI can identify the amount of biological and chemical data required to identify potential drug candidates. It can also predict the effectiveness of these candidates and optimise the design of drugs. This artificial intelligence streamlines the process of drug discovery with enhanced therapeutic properties.
5. Remote monitoring
Artificial intelligence has revolutionised remote monitoring in healthcare by using devices that can monitor patients’ signs, symptoms and activities remotely. This data collected by AI can be analysed by algorithms to identify any concerning trends or abnormalities, allowing healthcare providers to intervene promptly. Additionally, AI is being used to enhance telemedicine services, enabling remote consultations, diagnosis, and treatment.
Advantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
1. Effective Diagnosis
AI can accurately analyse patients’ information such as their medical records and scans. It also can diagnose their conditions and takes note of defects that may ordinarily be overlooked by a medical practitioner
AI can make predictions regarding likely conditions that a patient may experience by analysing their medical data. This valuable information assists health professionals to take preventive measures, leading to early intervention and potentially saving lives
3. Administrative tasks
AI can carry out several administrative tasks within the healthcare industry, such as appointment scheduling and data entry. By taking on this responsibility, AI reduces the administrative burden on healthcare staff and allows them to focus on other areas
Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
1. Emotionally unintelligent
AI’s lack of emotional intelligence poses a challenge in healthcare, as is required for patients who seek understanding and emotional support when during diagnoses and discussions about their symptoms. Unfortunately, AI systems are incapable of being sensitive or providing emotional support.
2. Security concerns
For efficiency, AI requires access to the database of patients within the healthcare system. This access to patients’ data may breach their privacy as well as raise other security concerns. Patients’ data may thus be vulnerable to unauthorised access and a breach of their privacy.
The introduction of AI technology in healthcare carries a financial burden as it requires substantial investment in infrastructure, training, and maintenance. Additionally, integration of AI systems into existing healthcare workflows and processes can be challenging, demanding meticulous planning and adaptation.
The impact of AI in the healthcare industry is significant and cannot be overstated. However, it is crucial to prioritise the protection of patient data and ensure robust security measures.