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AI and machine learning in healthcare

September 9, 2023

Introduction

Now imagine for a second that a patient whose name is Steve, is suffering from cancer, and doctors detect his disease earlier and he gets the right diagnosis and treatment and gets a normal life.  All that is possible with AI. Through machine learning and deep learning, AI can assist doctors and cooperate in performing crucial tasks that can change the way healthcare professionals. Many such things can be done by AI which often doesn't need a doctor's interference or AI can do better than doctors so that doctors can look after more patients and develop the overall healthcare system.  There are many ifs and buts in implementing AI and machine learning in healthcare and in this article, we're going to cover all these kinds of stuff.

Importance of ai and machine learning in healthcare

As everyone knows, what is it capable of? How is it transforming the particular industry? (irrespective of its many limitations). 

With AI, doctors or physicians get more personalized views of a particular patient and bring more accuracy to the surgery and stuff like that. AI helps to consider the patient as a stakeholder or a patient is a central point of developing any new technologies in health care. Even though many people are concerned about the implementation of AI in healthcare, we cannot avoid its importance in the medical field. 

In some cases, AI is far better than humans such as in collecting data, memorizing things, and recognizing any pattern. In healthcare, tasks like collecting the patient's data and information about their disease, and acting as a virtual assistant are some of the important aspects of implementing AI in healthcare. 

Here are some important facets of AI in healthcare that demonstrate its benefits as well:

  • New Drug Discovery. 

The very first and foremost thing that comes to my mind is that AI streamlines the process of developing new medication for pandemics or particular diseases. 

Researchers leverage the analyzing power of AI as it analyzes a huge amount of data in a fraction of the time. AI Assist to anticipate medication effectiveness to gain more exposure to it. 

With AI, researchers have the benefit of specifying the new drug and classifying the drug composition to make this process more optimized and more accessible. 

  • Simplify the administrative tasks. 

Another reason why AI is important to healthcare providers is that it reduces the time for things that don't need a doctor's attention. Things like scheduling appointments, managing health records, monitoring budgets, and so on are some of the things that often don't require a doctor's engagement. 

Many reports and reviews of big companies say that a very good amount of time and effort is wasted in maintaining the paperwork of patient's health data. And most of the time doctors feel very burned out due to this unnecessary burden. 

And it ends with doctors unable to provide services that patients genuinely want and in some cases, it takes an extremely intense condition. 

In addition to AI, we can eliminate all this from happening and develop an ecosystem that is convenient to patients and doctors as well.

  • Detects Disease earlier. 

Oh yes, this is phenomenal because imagine with the help of AI, doctors have the upper hand in the treatment of any disease especially when it comes to some destructive diseases like cancer and sepsis

Doctors can get the symptoms earlier, and they have a very good chance to conquer intense diseases. 

If we're successfully regulated and then implement AI in healthcare, it's going to be a very helpful evolution of mankind as it has the potential to save the lives of many people. 

  • Improves patient experience. 

AI is very user-friendly and always tries to improve its performance on its own. AI utilizes technologies like Natural Language Processing (NLP), speech recognition, and predictive analysis which can help doctors communicate with patients in a  very personalized way and patients get the optimal experience from the beginning to end of the diagnosis. 

It ends with better patient experience, care, and desired outcomes from healthcare providers. Because of AI, it's easy to understand what a patient requires and what they care for. 

  • Reduces Healthcare Costs. 

It cut off unnecessary tests, and unneeded lengthy procedures, and enhanced the accuracy of the overall diagnosis. Traditionally, the diagnosis of patients seems very monotonous and hard to manage. 

It is almost clear that AI is outperforming the traditional way and reduces healthcare costs as compared to the traditional path. 

And we all know that in today's world, anything that reduces cost is very acceptable by all and because of this feature many people are attracted to and excited about AI in healthcare.

  • Enables Speed & Accuracy. 

AI brings effectiveness with its capability of performing any task in a much faster way than humans can do and illustrates the accuracy of a respective task. 

Al is capable of processing quick information working more efficiently and cutting off human errors which can lead to understanding the misinformation in any pattern. 

This resulted in the credibility of the healthcare system and led to precise treatment and the interference of AI systems. 

In surgery, AI assists in providing top-notch treatment for patients via speed and accuracy. 

And as time goes on, AI will improve itself by doing more work on its own and because of this, AI will become more fast and accurate in operating in healthcare.

  • Acts as a Virtual Assistant. 

It is very helpful to patients and doctors as well. It works like a virtual doctor and helps in monitoring the appointment of a patient's relevant doctor. 

It is mainly focused on developing an engaging conversation between the doctor and the patient. Its interactive interface helps patients to ask about their health details in one place. 

It emphasizes collecting patient data like health history, insurance details, and many other things. Generally, tasks like scheduling meetings, data entry, answering the phone, and expense reports and a lot of things fall under virtual assistants. 

  • Unbelievable Statistics. 

One reason why AI in healthcare is considered to be a game-changer is because of its statistics. 

The market of AI in healthcare in 2021 was $11 billion and it is estimated to be $188 billion at the end of 2030.
This compound annual growth rate of  37% demonstrates that the future belongs to AI and it's going to make a huge impact on the healthcare industry.

These are some important points that describe the significance of AI in healthcare and its benefits as well. Now move forward to this article. 

Limitations & Challenges of Implementing ai and machine learning in healthcare

Everything that happened so far has been a glorified form of AI in healthcare. But as you know every coin has its flip side and AI is one of them. 

There are many concerns about deploying AI in healthcare such as data safety, algorithm bias, and many more. 

And to make the most of it, it's necessary to understand the shortcomings of AI in healthcare. 

Here is a list of some serious concerns about the implementation of AI in healthcare: 

Data Safety

One of the most important concerns is data privacy and data security. It's important to understand where the patient's data has come from and where to go. 

Especially when the topic is about healthcare where patient data has gone through many different ways. 

When it comes to AI, all the information that is stored online becomes more precious and we all know about cyber crimes which are a matter of discussion in implementing AI in healthcare.

Now before we talk about AI in healthcare, it's necessary to find ways of preventing data breaches. 

  1. Biased Algorithm & Lack of High-Quality Data. 

Any AI is as good as its training data and its algorithm that helps AI models to function. Any type of biased data can lead to a very intense diagnosis. 

For example, if an AI model is trained by the data of old citizens of Europe, then it can not help or diagnose young ones in Europe. This is called biased data. 

And the same with AI's algorithm, if it is based on a certain way of thinking and diagnosing, it tends to have more harmful effects on patients. 

Managing both algorithms & biased data is the biggest challenge for the development of AI models in healthcare and it must be figured out as soon as possible. 

  1. Complexity in Training the practitioners and patients. 

Yes, it's also going to be a tough challenge for healthcare providers. Because lots of complexity occurred in training staff or patients to use AI models very safely. 

And we all are aware of the fact that it takes time to learn anything new especially when it comes to learning AI which holds many complications and where lots of data is circulating. 

It's a hard pill to swallow, but it's a fact that we still need more advancement in developing AI models for the medical field and its full implementation. 

  1. Unavailability of Consciousness and Creativity. 

After all, at the end of the day, a machine is a machine and it is not capable of doing things that humans can do such as emotional connection between doctors and patients, and for the sake of creativity, AI is still not applicable. 

Because AI works in a certain way that makes it more like a boring thing and sometimes in sensitive cases, doctors need to do some out-of-the-box things, which is hard for AI to perform. 

Consciousness & creativity are the important things of operating surgery or stuff like that and AI is unfortunately missing these kinds of things. 

AI is far from the concept of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which is why bringing emotion and creativity into AI models is a very difficult thing. 

  1. Regulating the AI Models. 

Ever since Artificial Intelligence came into existence, there has been talk of regulating it. And many different countries have their regulations on controlling AI. 

In healthcare, AI regulations are very important because they rapidly change their behavior and who knows if it's harmful or not. It is essential to understand the situation and take as much control over AI as possible in the upcoming years. 

  1. Dependency On AI. 

It may happen that because of AI we become overdependent on it and are unable to do anything. It must not happen. Over-dependence on anything is bad. 

If everything is going to be automated and robotic, then there is no place for human intervention. Luckily, it's not going to happen at least in the next 10-20 years. 

If we're able to dictate these challenges, only then can we imagine the world of AI in healthcare or any industry. 

Conclusion - AI and machine learning in healthcare

So here we are. As of now, we discussed a glimpse of AI in healthcare, and some fantastic advantages of bringing AI into healthcare, and came face-to-face with its limitations and challenges. 

In the end, I want to say AI isn't going to steal jobs from anyone, but those who are using AI in their respective work, and eventually become pros in it, are more likely to steal jobs from anyone. 

There is no need to worry about a job, move with time, and be updated & upgraded by upskilling yourself in your area of expertise and enjoying your life, and making the most out of it. 

We hope this helps and brings some value to you. If you want to give your suggestion, feel free to join the discussion and be a part of our family. 

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