The future potential for robotic technology and Artificial Intelligence AI in healthcare is HUGE.
Just before you get carried away, we don’t believe physicians (humans) will be replaced by robots in the foreseeable future, however through the use of “big data”; the use of AI in healthcare can assist humans in making better clinical decisions or even replace human judgement in various areas of healthcare.
AI IN HEALTHCARE: KEEPING FIT & HEALTHY - Health Apps (such as Fitbit and MyFitnessPal)
Let’s keep this simple – come January every year most people hop on the health buzz - join a gym, track their food intake etc. (GUILTY!!)
Technological apps encourage healthier behaviour in individuals; helping with the management of a healthy lifestyle. They put consumers in control of their own health and well-being.
More importantly though, AI can give healthcare professionals a better understanding of a client’s day-to-day activity which in turn allows them to understand their needs and provide better guidance for staying healthy.
Our home care division Myhomecare.ie are partnering a project called Vizier; crafted for elderly users to provide them with the tools to facilitate happy, healthy and independent living.
The aim is to close the digital divide and empower elderly users to benefit from the latest technological innovations; improving the management of their daily lives and to stay physically, mentally and socially active.
This project is at trial stage, with the use of simple technology to improve the social, physical and cognitive health of the elderly users.
Data obtained from this technology will allow the identification of behavioural patterns of the elderly peron; allowing family, carers and health professionals to ensure that their medical needs are being met.
AI IN HEALTHCARE: MACHINE LEARNING FOR EARLY DETECTION OF DISEASES
In May 2018, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced plans to increase the use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) in order to enhance the early diagnosis of chronic diseases.
This would empower healthcare professionals to refer patients to the relevant treatment, potentially even before any symptoms develop.
It is hoped through the use of emerging technologies and “Big Data”; the cross-referencing of patient’s previous medical records, genetics and habits (such as smoking or exercise) with national data will lead to the early detection of cancer.
Jackie Hunter, CEO of BenevolentBio, the UK’s leading private artificial intelligence company in healthcare, commented: “AI has the potential to revolutionise all aspects of healthcare – not only in delivery and early diagnosis of disease but also in the ability to find new medicines and ensure they are delivered to the right patients.”
The American Cancer Society highlighted that a high percentage of mammograms produce false results, leading to 1 in 2 healthy women being told they have cancer.
Now, if you were told you had cancer and then advised you don’t – happy days (I mean not ideal but the relief of not having a disease 🙌)
BUT if you were told you didn’t have cancer based on a mammogram or smear test, and it turned out you did; that is HORRIFIC.
This in fact happened in Ireland in late April / early May 2018 – The Cervical Cancer ‘Scandal’:
Over 1,480 cases of cervical cancer were notified to the national cervical cancer screening programme from 2008 to 2018.
Of these, more than 200 women with cancer had been given incorrect smear test results by the national cervical cancer screening programme, missing out on earlier medical intervention.
18 of these women had died, with some of the other woman been given months to live.
The use of AI can AND SHOULD be used in healthcare and in the review of mammograms and cervical smear testing. AI can translate data 30 times faster with 99% accuracy, reducing the need for biopsies or unnecessary death.
USE OF AI IN HEALTHCARE: DIAGNOSIS & DECISION MAKING
Hands up who has used Google to self-diagnose themselves and subsequently freaked out and went to your doctor? EVERYBODY!!! 🙋 🙈
Improving healthcare requires the use of AI technologies, predictive analytics and machine learning to gain information, process this information and recognise patterns in behaviour; in order to identify patients at risk of developing a condition.
Google Health acquired DeepMind Health “Streams” App in 2014, an AI and mobile tool which facilitates healthcare professionals get patients from test to treatment as quickly as possible.
Yes, you read that right – HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS – not self-diagnosis (not yet anyway!)
The Streams App lets doctors and nurses use a mobile phone to see test result data about their patients that they need to make decisions regarding care and treatment; as well as alerting them to change in a patient's condition.
At present, the Streams app is being piloted in the UK, sending alerts to doctors about patients at risk of acute risk injury.
The vision for “Streams” App is to become an “AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors combining the best algorithms with intuitive design.”
AI IN HEALTHCARE: ASSISTED ROBOTIC SURGERY & TREATMENT
I was watching an American medical drama recently called “The Resident” (great show if you are a fan of Grey's Anatomy). Anyway, in it “Dr Okafor” is a rising surgical star, recently trained on a technological device called “the Hand of God” that could redefine surgery. This device is thought to eliminate human error and be the most effective means of doing surgery.
Robotic surgery is being carried out in hospitals all over Ireland, delivering precision operations, minimal blood loss and shorter recovery times for patients.
Mr Vincent Young (the cardiothoracic surgeon who performed Ireland’s first minimally invasive, robotic coronary artery bypass Graft (CABG) surgery) believes that
“with the use of artificial intelligence, it is likely that in 10 or 15 years time, certain parts of an operation may be performed by a robot, albeit under close supervision”.
In addition to surgery, robots are currently used in hospitals for rehabilitation and physical therapy; and in laboratories for repetitive tasks. Watch this space!
AI IN HEALTHCARE: END OF LIFE CARE
For decades; with the advancement of medicine and science; life expectancy has increased dramatically.
Previous fatal infectious diseases are now curable, or better treated - but diseases such as dementia and osteoporosis are becoming the most common cause of death for older people.
At this phase of life, elder people are often plagued by loneliness.
Robots have the potential to transform end of life care, helping our older family members to maintain their independence for longer, reducing the need for hospitalisation or care homes.
I spoke further up in this article about a project myhomecare.ie are trialing called Vizier.
The combination of AI tools, natural speech analysis and learned behaviour can enable robots to have “conversations” and interactions with users, in order to keep aging minds sharp.
AI IN HEALTHCARE: TRAINING
Through the use of manikins, natural language, naturalistic simulations and “big data” databases ; AI can be used in healthcare training impelling different scenarios for the learner or trainee to handle.
Simulators can replicate real-life scenarios (including voice responses via natural language) as well as body controls. This allows the opportunity for hands-on practice and the development of decision-making skills while also reducing the risk of potential death of a real life patient.
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