By David Fletcher
Vice President – Innovations, Streamline Health, Inc.
Recently, my colleague looked at how healthcare analytics has changed over the past 10 years. Now, let’s look at the future of artificial intelligence in healthcare.
Analytics and artificial intelligence go hand in hand. There’s isn’t an aspect of healthcare that AI solutions won’t touch over the course of the next decade. We’ve amassed an enormous amount of clinical, billing and operational data and now we are getting machines to learn historical patterns in order to make predictions about future events. From improving revenue to developing new cures for ailments, AI is here to stay – and that’s a good thing.
From a patient care perspective, the possibilities are endless.
Artificial intelligence can expedite diagnoses
Diagnosing ailments requires a highly skilled medical professional, but even in this specialized field, AI technology is making strides. Speaking with Becker’s Hospital Review, GE President and CEO Charles Koontz reported that deep learning systems can analyze x-ray images to quickly identify pulmonary disease.
The AI uses a special algorithm to scan a library of images at the University of San Francisco, which it then uses to cross-reference a new patient’s x-ray results. Koontz noted that this solution could save lives by prioritizing high risk patients in the hospital queue.
Another promising AI technology is IBM’s Watson. Speaking with CBS, Dr. Ned Sharpless of the University of North Carolina said that Watson was able to read roughly 25 million scientific papers in a week – an otherwise impossible task.
Without Watson, Sharpless’s team of cancer researchers was unable to produce a comprehensive list of clinical trials that could potentially help patients with highly complicated cases. Watson can not only read and process millions of papers, but also scan the internet for ongoing clinical trials that could benefit at-risk cancer patients.