A lot of sectors and industries are worried as to what the impact of an increasingly capable AI is going to be. There is no doubt that a lot of skilled jobs will disappear and be done by AI-powered robots.
But what about areas like healthcare? Is there room for AI and machine learning to make a difference? The answer is yes, however, the role of machine learning and AI will be more about assisting Doctors and augmenting their knowledge rather than replace them completely. At least for the foreseeable future!
This is something that is well on its way to happening and a lot of well-known companies are working on solutions to help Doctors dispense better treatment than ever before. According to industry analysts IDC, almost a third of doctors will be using these services in just the next couple of years.
This is a phenomenal rate of change in an area which has been traditionally slow to adopt the latest technology. This change is also set to affect every aspect of healthcare from diagnosis and treatment planning to post-operative patient care.
Diagnosing a condition correctly and at an early stage is one of the most important tasks that a Doctor tries to accomplish. It can greatly affect the survival rate, morbidity of treatment and successful rehabilitation of a patient.
Any program that helps increase the likelihood of a correct diagnosis will be greatly appreciated by the healthcare community. According to CBI insights, 22 companies are developing algorithms and programs to help achieve exactly this.
Pathway Genomics, an IBM backed company, is making inroads into blood tests for early detection of a number of cancers, while Lumiata is another company that is working on recognizing symptoms as input from the doctor and throwing up data backed diagnostic possibilities.
IBM’s Watson is once again leveraging vast amounts of data to come up with treatment guidelines that can be used by doctors if they want. It can help doctors see which treatment protocol has the best chance of being successful, what is the most accepted treatment plan and even keep a data of how the doctor’s past decisions have fared over a period of time.
Having all of this information at the fingertips of a doctor is a huge asset and will lead to better standardization and dissemination of the latest treatment protocols.
This is one of the most frustrating areas of medicine for a doctor because a lot of patients have a hard time understanding the importance of this phase and fall into poor choices once again.
Companies such as AiCure and NextIT are developing technologies that leverage facial recognition technologies as well as digital assistants that will keep a track of how well the patients are following their instructions and even get in touch with the doctor if they detect that something is seriously wrong.
The healthcare profession is something that can benefit greatly from machine learning technologies, especially if the companies are able to get doctors on board to view these benefits for themselves. The doctors may take some time to adapt to these changes, however, once they are convinced there is no turning back for this field of AI.