The term artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines and programs created to “think” like humans and mimic their actions. The AI term is applied to any machine or software that exhibits traits linked with the human mind including problem-solving and learning abilities. As technology evolves so does artificial intelligence. Nowadays, AI is everywhere, not just in IT companies and websites. In fact, artificial intelligence has a meaningful impact on the health industry, too. The main focus of this post is to discuss the potential of AI in healthcare.
Decreased burden of electronic health record use
Electronic health records (EHRs) have played a significant role in the healthcare industry’s journey toward digitalization. But they also had their own problems including endless documentation, cognitive overload, and user burnout. Luckily, AI can help overcome these obstacles.
You see, EHR developers now have the opportunity to use AI to create more intuitive interfaces. At the same time, they can automate some of the routine, time-consuming processes. For example, voice recognition and dictation can help improve the clinical documentation process. Artificial intelligence may also help process some routine requests from the inbox such as medication refills and result notifications.
The benefits of AI also extend to prioritizing tasks that truly require the clinician’s attention. In the future, artificial intelligence could go even further and bring virtual assistants to the bedside for clinicians to use with embedded intelligence for order entry.
Introducing intelligence to medical devices and machines
We use smartphones and other smart devices every day. Today everything you need or want to know is available to you with just a few taps on the phone screen. Whether you want to read something specific about health or you’re looking for hair testing shampoo, you can easily find what you’re looking for online wherever you go. Phones have evolved, just like other devices and AI can do the same for medical devices too.
In the medical environment, smart devices are important for monitoring patients in ICU and everywhere else. Using AI to enhance the ability to identify deterioration or sense the development of complications in patients can improve clinical outcomes. Doctors would be able to act in a timely manner and prevent potentially unfortunate scenarios.
Access to care in remote regions and developing countries
Not everyone has equal access to healthcare and it’s time to change that. Shortages of healthcare professionals and limited access to healthcare in many parts of the world leave people without much-needed medical assistance. Probably the most positive impact of artificial intelligence on the healthcare industry is its potential to enable access to care in remote regions and developing countries. The AI can mitigate the impact of healthcare provider deficits by taking over some of the diagnostic duties usually performed by humans. For instance, AI imaging tools can screen a chest X-ray for signs and symptoms of tuberculosis. The level of accuracy is comparable to humans. Moreover, this feature could be deployed through an app available to healthcare providers in remote areas. That would reduce the need for a trained professional on-site, but at the same time, a patient would get the proper care.
Reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs like fungi and bacteria develop the ability to defeat antibiotics, medications created to kill them. In that case, bacteria aren’t killed and they become more aggressive as they continue to grow. Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are difficult, and some of them nearly impossible, to heal. Multi-drug-resistant organisms can wreak havoc in hospital settings and are responsible for the deaths of thousands of patients every year.
However, EHR data can help identify patterns of infections and highlight patients who are at risk before they even start showing any symptoms. Giving the AI an opportunity to drive these analytics has the potential to enhance their accuracy and create more accurate alerts for healthcare providers.
In other words, artificial intelligence can recognize patients who are highly likely to develop antibiotic-resistant infection and alert healthcare providers who can act in a timely manner to prevent the problem and its complications. This could save thousands of lives every year across the globe.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere and the health industry is not the exception. The potential of AI to make a positive impact on healthcare is outstanding. Employing artificial intelligence in medical settings can improve electronic health records, create accurate and timely alerts, improve diagnostic processes, and deliver care and medical assistance even to the most remote areas. However, there’s a long way in front of AI now but with the advancements in technology and science, it is without a doubt that we’ll witness continuous improvements in the future. With AI, healthcare can be available to more people, which is the most important thing.
Hannah Gilbert is a professional editor, content strategist, and a part of gahmj team. Apart from writing, Mary is passionate about hiking and gaming. Feel free to contact her via Facebook.