Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

Five Ways AI Can Revolutionise Healthcare

Here at MedExpress, we’re always keeping an eye out for the latest trends in technology and how to improve our customers’ lives using cutting edge methods.

This is why we’re not especially phased about the imminent ‘rise of the machines’ – that is the growth of Artificial Intelligence. Despite the panic in some quarters about robots ‘taking jobs’, we believe that there’s usually a bright side to technological advances – and this is certainly the case in the healthcare sector. For example, there’s currently a worldwide shortage of around seven million physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers, and AI can help fill this shortage.

Here’s a quick look at five ways AI can revolutionise healthcare…for the better:

1. Early diagnosis

Doctors are only human and sometimes they get things wrong. However, unlike in other areas, this can be life threatening. The treatment and prevention of fatal diseases all depends on detecting the symptoms at the right time and often early diagnosis can result in a complete cure. AI algorithms can ingest millions of samples quickly and glean patterns.

2. AI health assistants

‘Cognitive Assistants’ have analytical reasoning capabilities along with a wide range of clinical knowledge. Assistants already exist and are set to become mainstream. They are able to look at radiology images, spot and detect problems, cover repetitive clinical and outpatient services, freeing up doctors’ time to attend to more important cases.

3. Medication management

One problem doctors sometimes mention is the problem of patients not taking medication. There are apps now that use AI to confirm that patients are adhering to their prescriptions – very useful when it comes to monitoring people with serious medical conditions.

4. Data management

Personal healthcare can be revolutionised by collecting, storing and normalising data. An example of this is Google’s Deepmind Health Project. In the future, healthcare will develop to provide better, faster and more efficient health services. Designing treatment plans will also be possible, by analysing the meaning and context of data to find the right treatment pathway. 

5. Drug creation

Pharmaceuticals are currently developed through clinical trials  – this can take up to ten years and can cost billions of dollars. However, speeding this up through AI, would have an enormous effect on healthcare. Tens of thousands of lives could be saved this way.

In order for Artificial Intelligence to be integrated into healthcare effectively, there need to be a series of standards applicable to and obligatory for the whole healthcare sector. Patients will need to be fully aware of how AI works and discover the benefits for themselves.

Medical professionals also need to acquire basic knowledge about how AI works in a medical setting, to understand how solutions may help them in their daily lives. Companies using AI, need to focus on communicating with the general public about how they are using their data and how this is beneficial for them.

We believe that AI is a cause for optimism in the healthcare sector. Huge medical discoveries and treatment breakthroughs could change society and improve the overall efficiency of the system.

Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published August 11 2017, updated October 06 2018