Friday, 7 April 2017

Artificial Intelligence - a promising future to healthcare

AI is almost everywhere making a huge difference to our lives. The self-driving smart cars, in Google searches, Amazon suggestions, movie suggestions from Netflix and in many other devices you may be using on a daily basis but you hardly know!  Likewise, AI is transforming healthcare organizing patient routes or with better treatment plans, and improving patient outcomes by helping physicians with literally all the information they need to make a good decision. The advanced analytics and bots used in AIhas made scheduling appointments to giving medical reminders possible.

Although IBM’s Watson is the bigwig in cognitive computing for healthcare, more and more companies have been interested and invested in AI in healthcare. To name a few in the race are Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Hitachi Data Systems, Luminoso, Alchemy API and Digital Reasoning.

Speed and Accuracy, the biggest blessing of AI

“By 2025, AI systems could be involved in everything from population health management, to digital avatars capable of answering specific patient queries.” — HarpreetSingh Buttar, analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Against the mammoth database of diseases, these smart devices embedded with cognitive capabilities are efficiently unifying and synthesizing data and delivering accurate diagnosis prescriptions faster than the traditional analytics tools. 

While IBM's Watson is helping save lives in diagnosing cancer, recommending treatment plans that matched human oncologists, Google's DeepMind can recognize sight-threatening eye conditions just with the help of a digital eye scan. 

The promise of speed and accuracy of AI has raised hopes of precision in diagnosis of healthcare in this digital era. It is a great boon for patients living in remote areas where chronic diseases is thehighest and fastest and access to physicians can be many miles ways. Better and best practices with fewer complications and false diagnosis makes AI in healthcare a super cost saving mechanism. 

But are we hoping AI to replace physicians?

Having known all the wonders of a supercomputer’s ability to reproduce the behaviour of human intelligence, there is no reason not to believe that one day the robot may possibly replace physicians. However that definitely has years to count, probably decades to achieve the kind of accuracy. Despite the endless possibilities of technology, human beings are social and aspects of empathy and words that go a long way in healing, is something that the virtual model may not be able to offer. Practicing medicine is an art and the opportunity of AI in healthcare lies in amplifying a doctor's proficiency, not replace it!