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Saturday 24 February 2018
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AI is the NEW Buzz Word in Healthcare.. is it all it’s hyped up to be?

AI is the NEW Buzz Word in Healthcare.. is it all it’s hyped up to be?

With more healthcare organizations looking at how to ensure they meet the current government guidelines (until they are changed under the new administration) and the new requirements soon to come, they are looking at ways to handle the analytics questions.  AI is the new trendy buzzword.  “AI can help us analyze the data”, “AI can look for potential savings for our organizations,” these are the things we hear to make us want to look deeper into this technology.

We all know the challenges:

  • There is a shortage of physicians, nurses and health workers worldwide
  • We need to cut costs
  • We need to improve patient/physician communication
  • We need to monitor patients better
  • We need to have more effective treatment plans including early and precise diagnosis
  • We need to utilize technology to the fullest without breaking the bank

The latest survey by HIMSS analytics found population health and precision medicine are some of the initiatives where health IT professionals expect AI to have the greatest impact.

This survey also found that 35% of healthcare organizations plan to leverage artificial intelligence within two years- and more than half intend to do so within five.

How do we solve the shortage of doctors and nurses?  

Give them better TOOLS ! 

We all know that AI won’t be replacing doctors or nurses anytime soon, but it can and will provide physicians with more tools to more effectively and efficiently diagnosis patients thus improving treatment plans with early and more precise diagnosis.

AI has the potential to improve many areas of healthcare, all the while, reducing costs in the long run.

Will AI will replace People?

Mobile powered AI can be the first line of defense for patients to go to before they go to the doctor. One of the most basic yet vital use cases of AI is to optimize the clinical process.  When a patient is ill, they go to the doctor, the “person” who checks their vitals and asks questions and gives the prescription does not need to be “a person”, AI assistants can cover a large part of the clinical process, as well as outpatient services. This will free up the doctors’ time to attend to the more critical cases.

This same AI assistant can also provide basic healthcare.  The potential for the AI to become smarter and learn from the its interactions by using the patient’s medical history can help reduce the potential for missed treatments.  Some AI platforms are designed to link symptoms to causes.  AI platforms are using machine leaning algorithms to create a complex map of the user’s condition and provide a personalized experience.

The AI assistant can save patients a trip to the doctor for more trivial diseases, and it can save time for the patients.  The follow up with patients on past symptoms, as the need arises and setting up video consultations with the physician may reduce the time physicians.

Cutting Costs is lower on the list!

Yes, with physicians not having to diagnose trivial cases of illness, they can concentrate on the more critical cases.. if AI can help with early and more precise diagnosis of dangerous diseases early enough, this will save the patient and system in many ways.  They will have less critical cases to deal with!

The main benefit for patients is detecting symptoms at the right time, early, in many cases it can result in a complete cure.  This would also improve the cost, as when you diagnosis diseases later, the treatments tend to cost more  and don’t often lead to a positive result.  Human’s skills when they are experienced are the best defense, but if we can enlist AI to help with imaging examinations to help reduce late diagnosis of cancer.

Monitoring Patients is what AI can do very well 

Through many technologies such as telemedicine, and healthcare apps monitoring patients is getting easier to manage.

AI can be the bridge to help this process improve.  Long term benefits to telemedicine include remote check ups with patient-specific monitoring with IT analysis of the data to ensure the physician has the needed information to provide treatment. AI assistants can help provide more personalized, more consistent updates of the data to the physician.

AI is not a substitute for human involvement and interaction, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  After discharge, doctors rely on patients to communicate with them on their conditions and if symptoms arise.  With remote monitors, patients do not have to directly communicate their conditions, the monitors can send the data to the AI and it can assess the patient conditions. The AI will then send notification to the physician to follow up directly with the patient.

The balance between automation and involvement is important, but tools like these will play a critical role in healthcare moving forward.

Treatment Planning will become more streamlined

Dynamic care is the key to our healthcare system to increasing its effectiveness. AI has the potential to receive clinical data from all areas (medical journal entries, vitals monitoring, patient history) to find patterns and present the physician and care teams with treatment options.  With AI being able to continue to learn from deep learning technologies, it can also keep up on the latest trends in treatments and the treatment’s results.

AI’s advanced abilities for treatment of disease early stage will be critical to patient care. IBM’s Watson has launched a program that aims to provide clinicians with evidence-based treatment options in the most difficult cases.  Watson has the ability to analyze the meaning and context of structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports that may be critical to selecting the right treatment plan.

All said, the potential for AI to give physicians access to more options, hopefully resulting in decision making and superior health outcomes.

AI Costs are reducing as the technology increases in use 

Since Artificial Intelligence has challenges to overcome, this does include the initial costs of integrating this technology into your organizations.  But, the costs for every technology upgrade is small to the benefits it will have to the future of healthcare continuity.

Find the right partner who can help you deliver the analytics tools to improve patient care coordination!

Telliant Systems has been working with healthcare companies to improve their analytics, AI is one of the tools that will solve many of the challenges in this industry.

 




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