Having robots equipped with AI to replace doctors and nurses seem like a farfetched fantasy but the truth is indeed stranger than fiction as AI is, in fact, having a grand impact on healthcare. Machine learning is already enhancing diagnostics, helping to predict outcomes and delivering personalized medicine to patients like never before. This brings forth the question of what may happen a decade from now?
Picture this scenario if you will:
A patient enters a hospital to be admitted for her 3D-printed kidney transplant. There are no forms for her to fill as the only thing she needs to do when she steps through the entrance is to pick up her personalized digital console, which has been waiting for her ever since she used the hospital’s mobile app to schedule her appointment for the procedure. The same digital console will show the way to her room and has maps of the entire hospital, allowing her to navigate the way with ease.
All the information she will require during her stay is at her fingertips, including finer details like her schedule, the surgeon assigned to carry out the operation, which operating theatre she will be wheeled into as well as the times the doctors and nurses will be popping by during her post-op recovery stay.
The AI even preloads all the facts and figures she needs to know about her procedure like the risks and benefits, potential side effects and which medication she will be on. While in her room, she will be wearing a smartwatch that healthcare providers can use to remotely monitor and analyse her vital signs, and alert the necessary departments should anything undesirable occur.
As for her records, they are populated through digital uploads, voice-capture sensors and information from medical personnel. Much of her aftercare is pre-planned by the AI using predictive analytics based on her medical history, response to the operation and any potential health-related social factors (such as her finances and family support). Before the procedure, her doctor will provide her with a 3D visualization of the operation. All vital information are captured via listening devices and logged into her files where she can easily access it through her mobile app.
This is but a mere glimpse of what AI can do, not too far down the road. As artificial intelligence and bots become more and more sophisticated, these feature can extend further beyond the operation flow of a hospital. Yes, they may truly save lives as the technology advances even further.
The key to this is by harnessing an AI’s ability to make use of massive amounts of data and analyze it at lightning speed, beyond anything that is humanly possible. Just imagine an AI augmented with the power of machine learning scanning through a person’s DNA and conducting analysis, comparing it against millions of medical case studies. After doing so, it can determine the type of genetic disorders and diseases a patient is predispose to acquiring.
Case in point, the Corti hardware device called The Orb. Out of 2,000 cardiac arrest cases, it accurately diagnosed 93% of those compared to the 73% accuracy achieved by human operators. Similar to other machine learning technology, Corti taught itself based on analyzing thousands of datasets and continued to evolve, improve and learn as it garnered more experience.
Such development is tremendously important right now in the medical field because there is just so much data available for an AI to learn from. By taking advantage of the power of deep learning, the software can scour various medical images (MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, Angiograms) in a single day to detect anomalies on a range that humans just aren’t capable of.
Besides reacting to symptoms, the same method can be used to prevent any dire illness from developing. This is achieved by relying on AI-powered virtual personal health assistants. What this means is that consumer can refer to chatbots or voice assistants (think Siri or Google Assistant) that serve as the central hub of for IoT health devices where the AI scans and analyze people’s biometric data. These machine learning assistants will keep people acquainted of their current state of well-being, acting a as a personal health facilitator. If there is anything alarming or requiring further action, an alert system can easily notify the consumer to consult a physician.
There is no doubt that the future of healthcare will be based on data and analytics, a fact that is further reinforced by the tsunami of medical data available out there. This isn’t to say that doctors and nurses will be obsolete, far from the contrary as the human touch is still and will always remain an irreplaceable part of the medical field. It is just another great example of how humans and robots can work together as the AI can perform the menial, routine tasks while doctors focus on making the final diagnosis and craft treatment plans for their patients. In the end, this synergy opens the doors for just one thing: saving more lives.