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The healthcare industry requires some fundamental changes. Several opportunities could benefit from the latest technology to treat chronic illnesses and incurable ailments. The latest technological advancements can deploy accurate, efficient, and effective healthcare solutions at the right time. 

Artificial intelligence is making strides in every industry. Now and then we see numerous applications of AI technologies in business, retail, marketing, and manufacturing. Healthcare practitioners can benefit from artificial intelligence in ways unimaginable by the human brain. AI can improve upon existing services and infrastructure by providing patient care and taking care of administrative tasks. It can also foster diagnostic, pathological, and clinical challenges efficiently and swiftly. 

It is only a matter of a few years before artificial intelligence replaces humans on a broad spectrum of the healthcare tasks like medical trials, diagnosis, discovery, treatment, and invasive surgeries. The disease, once thought incurable, may eventually have a cure with a 100% recovery rate. All of this is possible with artificial intelligence. 

For many, Artificial Intelligence or AI is still a baffling concept. Before moving further, let’s find out what is artificial intelligence;   

What is Artificial Intelligence or AI? 

When machines and digital appliances show human-like intelligence and capabilities, it is called artificial intelligence. The computers become smart enough to perform tasks and duties usually associated with and performed by intelligent beings. 

For instance, a computer recognizes the voice, face, handwriting, etc., like we humans usually do, only with more accuracy and speed. Also, when a robot begins performing invasive heart surgeries, we call it the application of artificial intelligence.  

Application of AI in the health sciences 

Having learned the gist of artificial intelligence, we shall now see the impactful intervention of artificial intelligence in the healthcare department.   

1. Radiology tools

Every individual at least once in their lifetime undergoes a scan, either ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, or X-rays. These are non-invasive, painless procedures that offer visibility of internal functions of the human body. They detect tumours, cysts, lesions, cancers, and whatnot. Doctors read the findings from their systems and often, while doing so, may make errors in judgment. 

Diagnostic processes that cannot paint a picture of the actual problem rely on physical examination or biopsies. It could further lead to the risk of infections. 

Artificial intelligence plays its role in enabling next-generation radiology tools and machines with human-like capabilities. Besides, these do not require tissue sampling or physical examination for a detailed and accurate diagnosis. 

2. Less reliance on electronic the health record 

Electronic health record or EHR is instrumental in clinical documentation, patient records, history, order entry, etc. For the longest time, the healthcare sector relied on EHR to document patients’ health records using effective healthcare solutions. It was the first step towards the digitalization of the health care sector. But it came with multiple issues such as cognitive overload, user burnout, and extensive documentation.    

The introduction of artificial intelligence reduces the reliance of medical practitioners and doctors on EHR. They instead choose intuitive and interactive interfaces along with automated routine processes. Artificial intelligence brings voice recognition and diction services that improve the documentation process. 

Probable uses of AI in the future include 

  • Recording clinical encounters to index information 
  • Virtual assistants will enter the patient’s history by coming to the bedside 
  • Processing routine requests and tasks from the mailbox, such as medication refills 
  • Prioritizing the tasks and surgeries which require immediate attention instead of simple elective surgeries

3. Infection control in antibiotic resistance cases 

Self-medication and overuse of antibiotics for simple infections foster the environment for superbugs and bacteria. Therefore, prolonged use of antibiotics is a threat to people worldwide. Their bodies develop resistance to any treatment through antibiotics, further worsening the condition. These drug-resistant organisms can claim hundreds of lives in the hospital. 

With the help of electronic health records (EHR), the computers would read out the data and identify infection patterns. It will also highlight the high-risk patients even before they start showing symptoms. Moreover, it will rapidly notify the doctors and send the most accurate alerts. Curb the problem at infancy is the goal of artificial intelligence in medical sciences. 

If you have a functional EHR system, you must use it to its full potential to create faster and more innovative solutions. Technology is here to help us find effective healthcare solutions.  

4. Precise analytics for pathology 

Whenever we have a medical issue, the first and foremost step is diagnosing the disease. Without an accurate diagnosis, the problem could get worse. Pathologists are the diagnosis specialists who provide diagnostic data for patient care. 

70% of diagnoses and decisions are based on pathological findings and images. Even the data in EHR also comes from the pathology lab after running tests. The better the pathology findings and results, the more accurate and timelier the diagnosis will be. That is what AI aims to deliver. 

Artificial intelligence gets in-depth of the image to dig out the results that may escape the eyes of a pathologist. Analytics can go as deep as the pixel level of large digital images to get to the root of the problem. Doctors may make a mistake, but machines don’t. 

In the future, artificial intelligence will be able to tell whether it’s a slow progressing or fast-moving cancer. It can study the series of changes over time-based on cell count and whatnot. It will also dictate how a patient can be treated based on an algorithm instead of clinical staging and histopathologic grading. 

That will be a huge breakthrough in pathology and medical science breakthrough if and when that happens. 

Additionally, artificial intelligence can identify features and areas of interest in the slides even before the pathologist reviews the data. Effective healthcare solutions will surpass the redundant findings and move directly to the critical part. It will save time, energy, and human lives.   

5. Advancing immunotherapy for cancer patients 

Immunotherapy works best for people fighting autoimmune disorders and cancer. Immunotherapy uses the body’s defence system against malignancies and internal threats. That’s the way to eliminate stubborn tumours and cancers. It is less invasive, so people prefer it but sadly, not everyone benefits from the current therapy options. Even more unfortunate is that oncologists cannot figure out who will respond to immunotherapy. They are looking for precise and reliable procedures to find the best candidates for this option. 

Also. based on every individual’s genetic makeup and DNA, machine algorithms can synthesize data to understand who are the potential target for immunotherapy. 

The recent development by virtue of AI suggested that several inhibitors in cancer resist proteins made in our immune cells. Since oncologists do not fully understand the biology of the disease so they cannot place how they can use the information to their benefit. They require a larger sample size, machine learning algorithms, and analytics to solve the recurring immunotherapy resistance. They have cracked the basics, but a lot of work still needs to be done. 

6. Robotic process automation 

The RPA has to be my favorite application of artificial intelligence in digitalizing manual tasks. Robotic simulations perform digital tasks for administrative reasons. They follow a human script. Compared to other applications and forms of artificial intelligence, it is the most fascinating, inexpensive, easy to manoeuvre, and transparent. 

Many people argue that it involves an actual robot performing tasks with human-like intelligence, but mostly these are computer simulations and programs automating the functions. They can greatly help in healthcare for repetitive tasks that are otherwise time-taking and mundane. 

In some cases, similar to RIMS, an actual robot may be involved in performing minimally invasive surgeries. It puts the entire community of surgeons at risk as they may one day not be required. That’s why data scientists fear that. RIMS or “Robot-assisted Minimally-Invasive Surgery” is a promising concept that will offer accuracy and dexterity.

Moreover, the surgeons will likely use motor controls to perform surgical procedures through precise movements of robotic hands in your body. They can also make small incisions using robots or guide them to do that. We can expect automated surgical procedures in the decades to come. 

7. Clinical trials 

We are in a hot mess because of the unorganized and unaligned clinical trials. Most of them do not follow any standardized process to integrate the solution. So, there is no way one can judge the progress of the trials and phases. Drug trial outcomes are not conclusive because of a lack of data gathering. 

Artificial intelligence can alter the course of clinical trials to ensure a systematic way of approaching the conclusion. Clinical trials can be perfected using predictive modelling based on previous research on similar genetic makeup, patient history, and medicinal formula. It will take care of the entire process, from enrollment of candidates to medical adherence. 

The best example of AI-driven clinical trials is the production of the Covid vaccine during the pandemic. Pfizer used millions of data points from a sample size of 44,000. It also had the data from earlier vaccine trials in an attempt to curb SARS. Integrating that data with recent findings helped in formulating a potent Covid vaccine. 

Conclusion 

It is crystal clear how artificial intelligence holds the power to change the dynamics of effective healthcare solutions forever. AI is involved in every process from patient history, data recording, and disease diagnosis to performing surgical procedures, and it can do anything. It will take a few decades to perfect the process before we digitize the entire healthcare industry. It has already begun to unravel the marvels of science. So, wait and watch for more revelations.

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Sania Khan

Sania Khan, is a content writer who has been writing for past 7 years. A content marketer by day and a poet by night, she previously worked for a large multinational and left it to pursue her passion for writing. She enjoys a good read with wit and tea to get her day started!