No industry counts more than healthcare and medicine. And I don’t think I should explain ‘why’. So whatever advancements we may have done in any industry till today with Artificial Intelligence or with any other cutting edge technologies for that matter, our healthcare and medicine should come top in that list and there should not be any disagreement on this. Let’s do a reality check and see how far Artificial Intelligence has already been leveraged in our healthcare and medicine.
When you go to your doctor today, your doctor can’t guarantee that a particular treatment selected for you is going to work for sure. For almost half of medical treatments in use today, there is no proof of their effectivity. The proof for effectiveness of the treatment is based on only a very small fraction of the patient population where the clinical trial has been made factually. That to the result of such studies are based on averages. But the fact is every treatment have different effects in every unique human body. What does that mean? That implies that our doctors don’t have the adequate information in hand today to suggest the exact treatment plan required for a particular patient. Isn’t it shocking?
But with Artificial Intelligence, we can transform our healthcare and aid our doctors to be much smarter. AI can act as second pair of reliable eyes for our doctors and it can make the good doctors great. We can make our doctors equipped with a treatment plan which is exactly for you and precisely according to your body condition and parameters. With the use of AI there will be proof of effectivity of every treatment and every single decision taken by a doctor will be based on a solid evidences.
The future of healthcare is going to be “predicting everything about our health well in advance” before even any symptoms of any abnormalities are observed. Sounds bit overoptimistic! But it’s very much possible. Whether we will be able to prevent or cure everything as per the early prediction alerts received is altogether a different question but majority of the ailment can be arrested at a very early stage.
Let me straightaway come to some of the examples where Artificial Intelligence has already made a huge progress.
1. AI can detect Osteoarthritis progress 3 years prior to the arrival of symptoms with more than 85% accuracy by detecting the diffusion of water inside the knee cartilage.
2. Almost all cancers can be detected in a very early stage using AI which is simply impossible for a doctor to detect at that stage otherwise.
6. Alzheimer starts at an early stage and worsens with time to the point that a person loses mental and bodily functions. Now AI can detect this kind of conditions at a very early stage through predictions.
7. Machine learning and deep learning in Clinical Imaging is exceptionally efficient. It can influence largely key clinical decision making processes for doctors like disease detection, lesion segmentation, diagnosis, treatment selection, response assessment, clinical prediction etc.
8. AI techniques has already been proved to be the most efficient for detecting tuberculosis. Similarly AI aided mammography is exceptionally efficient detecting breast cancers when there is not even a slightest symptom to register.
9. In Genomic research and testing, AI is simply revolutionizing the entire panorama. It is a type of research that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes or proteins. This test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing a genetic disorder.
10. Google DeepMind’s Artificial Intelligence is already improving healthcare dramatically like preventing blindness due to different medical conditions including old age blindness.
Today there is a huge amount of clinical data and information that’s available to us which is beyond the human eye, brain and ear can appreciate or process. Processing and using that information will help our doctors make better decisions, using that detailed information to personalize the treatment plan for each of the individuals in the unique way will add a great value. And even patients will be in a position to better participate in the decision making process of a treatment plan unlike the paternalistic healthcare model in the past where doctor used to take all decisions and patients were completely unaware of the implications.
Cognitive systems like IBM Watson is already becoming a practice in healthcare and it’s going to be as common as a Stethoscopes for our doctors in coming few years. These cognitive systems has the capability of understanding everything in your medical record plus almost everything in the medical literature and journals and combines all those information and knowledge which is humanly not possible to know and have those in the finger tips while making a decision. IBM’s Watson for Oncology is a great example which diagnose and offers treatment options for various cancers. AI can even transform the scientific method and in turn the pharmaceutical industry.
So, there are huge possibilities but adoption is still very limited especially in a developing country like India where almost half of the population is still deprived from basic healthcare facilities.