Healthcare Artificial Intelligence (AI): Benefits, Risks, and Industry Trends

March 2020
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The healthcare industry continues to evolve, transforming the aspects of patient care. Artificial intelligence and related technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent within hospitals and pharmaceutical organizations. The digital era of today and the popularity of AI in performing healthcare tasks is making the healthcare sector more efficient and productive. Research studies show that these technologies have the potential to perform better than humans, for instance in diagnosing a disease. The algorithms created by the AI professionals are making it easier for radiologists to spot malignant tumors in the brains and helping the medical professionals with the research and costly clinical trials. 

AI is fast replacing human beings and simplifying the lives of patients and doctors by performing tasks in a less period of time and at a fraction of the cost. Machine learning using statistical techniques, giving the computer systems and robots the ability to “learn” and identify patterns and codes for making decisions with zero errors, is being adopted in many healthcare organizations. 

The accurate diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases is the priority during the implementation of AI technology. For instance, IBM’s Watson has garnered a lot of attention for its cancer diagnosis and treatment. Watson employs a mix of machine learning and NLP capabilities. It provides ‘cognitive services’ such as speaking and language, vision, and machine learning-based data analysis. 

The situations are now changing in the healthcare industry and the research labs and tech firms are developing approaches using AI that claim to diagnose and treat a disease with greater accuracy than the medical professionals. 

Benefits and Risks of AI in Healthcare

Integrating AI into healthcare has a multitude of benefits that includes automating tasks and analyzing big patient data and delivering a precise and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for the patients at a lower cost. Nowadays, the use of wearable healthcare technology is also serving for the benefit of the patients. Softwares such as FitBit and other smartwatches are analyzing the data for the users and reducing the potential health issues and risks. The ability to self-assess your health using AI technology is easing the workload of professionals and preventing unnecessary visits to the hospitals. 

Whereas, along with benefits there are some risks that are encountered during the use of AI technology. The challenge for developers of AI machines is developing models that have characteristics of human thinking and processing with creative and interactive skills. Interpretation and presentation challenges are faced by the AI machines including issues related to the AI system’s output and feedback. 

Latest Trends

The increasing number of cross-industry strategic partnerships and agreements is expected to boost the growth of AI in the healthcare sector. It also stands responsible for the lucrative growth of the industry by developing and deploying new machine learning models for predicting the risks of some chronic diseases and aiding medical professionals in treatment planning. Furthermore, the growing biotech industry and the increasing cases of robotic surgery and a well-developed healthcare sector are raising the demand for AI. 

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