How Artificial Intelligence is Being Used in Healthcare

The pursuit of excellent care, optimal and effective treatments, and curing people of what ails them helps drive forward technological advancements in healthcare. The technology of artificial intelligence is advancing every moment and is penetrating virtually every industry. Despite the concept and technology of artificial intelligence, or AI, has been around for decades, it is still very much developing. However, it is showing very promising signs for improving the healthcare field.

Artificial Intelligence As a Diagnostic Tool

One of the most difficult aspects of healthcare is diagnosis. While some diagnostic procedures are fairly straight forward, such as lab tests, other diagnostic procedures are not quite so clear cut. Something like an MRI requires a trained human being with extensive knowledge and understanding to look at something and make a diagnosis. The problem is, the human eye, and capacity for knowledge, are limited – it can only see and retain so much. Even a top radiologist can miss things in diagnostics imaging. And, reviewing diagnostic imaging can be timely. AI can use its unlimited capacity for knowledge, as well as its speed and efficiency to quickly and more accurately review diagnostic imaging. Radiology departments are already using this technology as an additional layer of their diagnostic effectiveness.

AI Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is already a technology used in many surgical procedures. However, the robot is ultimately controlled by a human. With AI robotic surgical procedures, the sophisticated AI software can operate somewhat independently. Forbes points out that AI is already making an impact in the quality of surgical procedures, “Via artificial intelligence, robots can use data from past operations to inform new surgical techniques. The positive results are indeed promising. One study that involved 379 orthopedic patients found that AI-assisted robotic procedure resulted in five times fewer complications compared to surgeons operating alone. A robot was used on an eye surgery for the first time, and the most advanced surgical robot, the Da Vinci allows doctors to perform complex procedures with greater control than conventional approaches. Heart surgeons are assisted Heartlander, a miniature robot, that enters a small incision on the chest to perform mapping and therapy over the surface of the heart.

Dictation Assistance

Many doctors make notes about a patient or a procedure by dictating into a recording device and then giving it to an assistant to transcribe. AI can use voice-recognition technology to capture critical information and even input and start using it with AI technology. This can expedite the time it takes to diagnose and treat a patient.

Brain-Computer Interfaces

Perhaps one of the most exciting and interesting ways in which AI can transform healthcare is the potential it holds in brain-computer interfaces. Health IT Analytics describes what type of patients and healthcare professionals can benefit from improved brain-computer interface technologies, “Neurological diseases and trauma to the nervous system can take away some patients’ abilities to speak, move, and interact meaningfully with people and their environments. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) backed by artificial intelligence could restore those fundamental experiences to those who feared them lost forever. ‘If I’m in the neurology ICU on a Monday, and I see someone who has suddenly lost the ability to move or to speak, we want to restore that ability to communicate by Tuesday,’ said Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery at MGH. ‘By using a BCI and artificial intelligence, we can decode the neural activates associated with the intended movement of one’s hand, and we should be able to allow that person to communicate the same way as many people in this room have communicated at least five times over the course of the morning using a ubiquitous communication technology like a tablet computer or phone.’ Brain-computer interfaces could drastically improve quality of life for patients with ALS, strokes, or locked-in syndrome, as well as the 500,000 people worldwide who experience spinal cord injuries every year.” The potential for life-changing capabilities that have never existed before are suddenly possible with AI and that is precisely why AI is poised to permeate the healthcare industry in a major way.

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