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Over the years, artificial intelligence has made an impact on every industry. From self-driving cars and surgical robots, and computers that play chess, the applications of AI are boundless.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sudden surge in the application of AI-based technologies in the healthcare sector. Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in controlling the spread of disease through techniques like predictive modeling. AI-based technologies are widely used in disease diagnosis, imaging, clinical trial management, virtual healthcare facilities, and much more.
According to a study conducted by NCBI in 2020, AI-based algorithms detected 68% of COVID-19-positive cases in a dataset of 25 patients who were earlier diagnosed as negative cases by medical professionals.
According to a report, the global artificial intelligence in healthcare market size was valued at USD 15.4 billion in 2022 is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.5% from 2023 to 2030.
Artificial Intelligence – Overview
The American scientist, John McCarthy coined the term Artificial Intelligence in 1955. He described the term Artificial Intelligence as the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.
McCarthy has made significant contributions to the field of mathematics and computer science that eventually led to the discovery of AI and interactive computing systems.
Hex organized the first Dartmouth conference that helped to initiate early AI research with the participation of some of the world’s leading computer scientists.
McCarthy devised a high-level computer program language called LISP which is one of the oldest AI programming languages still widely used by programmers. Owing to his great contributions to the field of Artificial Intelligence, he was named the Father of Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial intelligence can be categorized into two namely weak AI (narrow AI) and strong AI. A weak artificial intelligence system is designed to carry out a single, specific task whereas a strong artificial intelligence system is designed to carry out more complex, human-like tasks.
Now that we have discussed the importance of using AI in healthcare, let’s take a look at the 6 major benefits of using artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry.
Better accessibility to healthcare
Healthcare accessibility has always been a major problem. The onset of COVID-19 and social distancing rules made things worse and now there is a pressing need to make healthcare accessible to millions of people around the world.
Research shows that people in many developing countries lack access to timely healthcare services.
There is also a shortage of healthcare management professionals and hospital facilities in many countries.
This is one of the areas where AI can make a big impact.
From enabling virtual consultations at affordable costs to educating people about diseases and preventive care, the advantages of AI-powered healthcare systems are plenty.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the Global Virtual Healthcare Market is expected to reach USD 6.69 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 15.9%.
The application of artificial intelligence in healthcare helps to save time, cost, and effort.
It also ensures access to good quality and unbiased healthcare services for people irrespective of their location.
AI-assisted surgery is one of the biggest innovations in medical care. It refers to the use of smart robots to perform various surgical procedures.
Surgical robots are becoming increasingly popular in healthcare facilities owing to their precision and performance efficiency.
AI-powered robotic systems can assist doctors in performing complex surgical procedures and help to reduce waiting time. These AI bots can reduce the chance of surgical risks and other complications during the procedure.
The popularly used surgical robot involves a camera, surgical tools, and a screen. This surgical robot is controlled by a trained surgeon who is either in the same location or in a remote place.
Automated image diagnosis
Artificial intelligence techniques can be highly useful in medical imaging and disease diagnosis. AI-powered imaging technology aids radiologists and pathologists to perform a faster and more accurate diagnosis of various conditions.
AI-powered technologies such as computer vision are being popularly used in the medical imaging field as it uses AI algorithms to detect patterns from images. It helps doctors save time on routine tasks and diagnose the patient accurately.
With increasing cases of life-threatening diseases like cancer, it is becoming more challenging for radiologists to carry out manual diagnostics.
Automating tests such as X-rays and cancer screening tests can help in the effective detection of abnormalities. Early detection will lead to better disease control and reduced risk of fatal conditions.
Some studies have revealed that AI-powered diagnostic procedures perform better than humans. Integrating AI with diagnostics can have a life-changing impact on both patients as well as physicians.
Enhanced operational efficiency
Another major advantage of using AI in healthcare is that it helps to increase the efficiency of operations within an organization.
The rising number of patients and caregivers in healthcare facilities can lead to various operational issues and unexpected costs.
From cost reduction to optimizing resource utilization and improving service quality, there are multiple benefits of having AI in healthcare.
Various activities like scheduling patient appointments, clinical trial management, patient data storage, etc can be easily streamlined with the help of AI tools.
Maintaining order and operational efficiency are of utmost importance in a healthcare setting.
Hospitals and healthcare organizations can leverage the power of AI systems to make their internal processes more efficient and optimized. Most healthcare systems are now leveraging the power of AI to manage and sort big amounts of patient data.
Apart from that, many routines and repetitive tasks performed by humans can be automated with the help of artificial intelligence. Automation will result in a significant reduction in operational costs.
Availability of real-time data
The availability of real-time data is one of the most critical requirements of the healthcare industry. Real-time data analysis helps medical professionals in the early detection of symptoms. Be it for drug research, problem-solving, diagnosis, or disease control, having access to real-time data is highly necessary.
With the prevailing pandemic and associated diseases, researchers are constantly relying on real-time data analysis tools to uncover new patterns. Nowadays, even patients prefer to have anytime access to their medical information and this can be achieved with the help of AI tools.
Clinical decision making
As we mentioned earlier, the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare systems can enhance the speed and precision of disease diagnosis.
Applying artificial intelligence in many medical procedures can directly or indirectly impact the clinical decision-making process. AI and Machine Learning (ML) techniques are popularly being used to obtain real-time clinical data to monitor patient health conditions.
These modern analytical techniques help medical professionals make better clinical decisions at the right time. AI reduces the risk of human diagnostic errors which is a common problem in the healthcare industry.
Wrapping up on artificial intelligence in healthcare
Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction and it has immense potential to transform the healthcare industry for the better. Whether it is data analysis, surgical bots, cost reduction, or medical diagnosis, AI development in healthcare systems can bring great benefits to this industry.
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Although AI-powered systems need human surveillance to some extent, they definitely help to make life easier for patients and medical professionals alike.