How AI Will Impact Health Care

June 30, 2017 • Devin Partida


Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming mainstream. We use it to help us plan our schedules, respond to emails and more. However, you might not have considered how advancements in artificial intelligence and health care might help us live better by treating chronic illnesses and even managing our symptoms, so we stay healthier on a long-term basis. Here are four ways AI and health care impact one another:

1. Addresses the Physician Shortage

There is a severe physician shortage around the world, and developing countries are primarily affected. Doctors are stretched for time. In the United States, they spend an average of just 13 to 16 minutes with each patient. Perhaps that’s why people who are researching artificial intelligence and health care are confident AI could contribute big improvements. In fact, they know it already has.

AI is aiding in speedier diagnoses, leading to a greater amount of accuracy thanks to advantages like machine learning — they can even give patients health information that’s more personally relevant to them. AI isn’t at risk for putting physicians out of jobs, but the enhancements being made in artificial intelligence and health care could make it easier for doctors to excel in their practices and give patients the best care possible.

2. Leads to Better Treatments

There’s also evidence that AI is helping specialists determine the most appropriate combinations of cancer treatments for patients. In laboratories, AI has been used to predict the worthiest combinations of anti-cancer drugs. Later, those results were proven as genuinely the best through experiments.

Scientists also looked at AI-suggested combinations of drugs that were the least likely to result in acquired resistance. Scientists say there’s no way to test all the drugs in existence, but that AI could help them narrow down the possibilities and make them available to patients.

3. Reduces Hospital Admissions

Ask anyone for opinions about spending time in hospital waiting rooms, and you’re not likely to get favorable responses. However, recent studies suggest artificial intelligence could improve health care by making hospital stays less necessary, especially for people with chronic illnesses. In addition to cutting down on hospital admissions, machine learning algorithms could reduce false positives, thereby minimizing patient distress.

Furthermore, hospital workers could make the most of their time on the clock by prioritizing patients based on the urgency of their symptoms. Over time, the cost of care could go down as AI helps limit unnecessary hospital admissions and return visits.

4. Improves Quality of Life

Researchers have also figured out a method that relies on artificial intelligence to monitor symptoms related to heart failure and predict fatality rates with greater accuracy than doctors. The technology looks at more than 30,000 areas of movement within a patient’s heart. It goes even further and examines that person’s health records over the last eight years.

Artificial intelligence combines those sources of information and, as a result, can look approximately five years in the future to assess the likelihood of a patient’s death. Although this use of artificial intelligence may seem a bit morbid, its findings could guide doctors as they determine which treatments to give their patients.

One study evaluated this artificial intelligence method with a focus on patients with pulmonary hypertension. Ordinarily, the treatments administered range from targeted medications to lung transplants. After assessing the data generated by artificial intelligence, physicians could feel more confident about choosing one of those interventions over others, ultimately increasing their patients’ quality and length of life.

These examples are just a handful of ways artificial intelligence is changing the landscape of the health care industry in potentially life-altering ways. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what other developments emerge in the months and years to come.