The healthcare and technology industries have always been closely connected through their constant research and innovation as well as their abilities to address a variety of human concerns.
The recent tech boom has inspired debate around the potential impact of automation upon the job market at large. While it’s natural to be focused on the uncertainties of the future, it’s also good to identify the avenues in which AI has enabled healthcare providers to do their jobs more effectively, as opposed to “replacing” them. Let’s take a look at a few of those avenues now.
Certainly one of the flashier AI applications, robot-assisted surgery has been a topic of interest since it first emerged in 1985, when a robotic arm assisted in the first successful neurosurgical biopsy. Since that time, the technology has been further refined and has appeared in various iterations. Today, it’s not uncommon to see robotic assistants in operating theaters across the world with a variety of specializations.
Robot-assisted surgery carries with it the implication for lower complication risks in addition to its increased precision. A recent study of orthopedic surgeries discovered that various procedures carried out with AI assistance had a complications rate five times lower than similar procedures carried out by a lone surgeon. However, this doesn’t mean that these surgeries are without risk. Oppositional studies and reports outline the potential for device and user error that suggest the need for closer observation reporting and human intervention.
Remote population monitoring
Remote population or patient monitoring encompasses the tools and approaches used by healthcare professionals to monitor and respond to care needs across demographics as they arise. Also referred to as telemedicine, these systems also help in many cases to coordinate the efforts of insurance providers to understand the current landscape faced by their customers. This means that from a cost-monitoring standpoint, private hospitals and insurance companies have a vested interest in putting this aggregated data to practical use. Ankota provides a remote patient monitoring system for population health management that can provide significant improvement in patient satisfaction and reduce preventable hospital readmissions.
AI influences on this area of patient care can be seen in the automated collection and exchange of said data, along with the ways in which patients and providers access it. Whether it’s through a provider-facing analytics dashboard or a voice interface for patients, artificial intelligence is the driving force behind these communications.
Administrative workflow processes
Organizing data can also help hospitals manage their administrative processes more efficiently. One of the fastest-growing trends in data storage is the cloud, which refers to an interconnected network of servers that processes and stores application and personal data on the web, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on payroll and other costs associated with on-premises storage hardware. This enables staff members to be more agile when responding to requests and performing daily administrative tasks, even as their organization scales upward.
Although recent headlines have called into question the digital security of hospitals, the move to the cloud has required a gargantuan effort in encryption and standardization, meaning that all things considered, cloud-based software is actually more secure than its outdated counterparts.
Experts predict that by 2023, hospitals will be investing $2 billion every year into AI applications for diagnostic imaging. This increase is due in part to recent innovations in software and machine learning that could potentially aid radiologists in detecting various forms of cancer. Signify research analyst Simon Harris told Healthcare IT News that “over the coming years, the combined R&D firepower of the expanding ecosystem will knock down the remaining barriers, and radiologists will have a rapidly-expanding array of AI-powered workflow and diagnostic tools at their disposal.”
A 2016 clinical trial based out of California developed a groundbreaking method of parabolic personalized dosing (PPD) for organ patients post-transplant. This mathematical formula, which uses variables to map patient response, has garnered attention for its ability to significantly reduce dosing errors that make up 37 percent of all preventable medical errors. The potential of this to pave the way for more balanced automated dosing in the future is huge, especially among transplant patients, who require accurate medication dosages in order to avoid rejection post-surgery.
It’s important to note that the technological innovations emerging in today’s healthcare field aren’t as much independently-“thinking” machine learning systems as they are manually input algorithms piggybacking off the innovation of talented programmers, doctors and medical experts. Additionally, while AI systems are able to powerfully and efficiently provide solutions to a variety of issues plaguing the healthcare industry, their skills are usually targeted toward one specific application, as outlined above. Take it from Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, who recently commented at the annual Netsuite conference that “at the end of the day, AI is not going to be an isolated solution. I think what you’ll see is AI integrated specifically into applications to solve specific business cases.”
In conclusion, AI assistance in healthcare is quickly becoming a necessity in terms of managing costs and efficiency, but it is not replacing the need for human expertise. Physicians can use different tools and approaches like the ones identified above in order to augment their own skill-set and to ensure they deliver the best care possible.
Ankota believes that taking certain precautions or testing are important to the safety of patients at home. Take that extra step to ensure that you are controlling the risks that you can control with the right tools and systems.---
Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.