It is a well-known fact that artificial intelligence has already begun to change the world around us. Not only does it impact everyday concepts such as online searches and product marketing, but it is also serving to redefine the ways in which countless industries perform their operations. In fact, the number of businesses which are now implementing AI into their infrastructure has increased by 270 per cent over the past four years. The healthcare sector is certainly no exception.
How have recent events hastened the changes mentioned above and what advantages can healthcare professionals expect to leverage in the not-so-distant future? To understand these two questions, it is first important to quickly examine the drastic impacts that the recent COVID pandemic has caused before moving on to highlight the role of AI.
Forced Adaptation in Relation to COVID
The current state of affairs has caused the global healthcare system to enter into a state of overdrive. Not only does this pandemic represent one of the greatest threats to millions of individuals, but it has already stretched healthcare providers to their limits. However, there is an important caveat which should be noted.
The role of artificial intelligence is more pronounced than ever before. Doctors, medical professionals, clinicians and companies providing generalised healthcare services are therefore able to enjoy an unprecedented edge. There is an argument that AI is one of the main reasons why a number of vaccines have been developed so quickly. In other words, companies have been forced to adopt AI to cope with what can only be called one of the greatest health crises in the past 100 years. So, what further transformations can we expect?
Employing the Power of Predictive Analyses
Artificial intelligence is essentially defined as the process of utilising powerful algorithmic tools to produce a certain outcome in an efficient and automated manner. There are several ways in which this technique can be implemented within the modern healthcare sector. Here are a handful of common examples already in use:
- Appreciating the times of the year associated with the greatest volume of a specific illness.
- Developing models to understand how an ongoing marketing campaign will impact the “bottom line” of a healthcare provider.
- Utilising AI as a modelling tool when mapping the footprint of a new virus. (such as COVID-19).
- Understanding the results of large-scale clinical trials.
- Developing new drugs and diagnostic techniques.
The advantages of these opportunities are twofold in their nature. First, they allow healthcare providers to enjoy smoother running operations; enhancing their overall operational efficiency. Secondly, targeted solutions can then be passed on to independent healthcare providers and to the patients themselves. Let us examine the last point in more detail.
Offering quality healthcare products and services is simply good for business. As the sheer amount of competition within this sector continues to grow, it stands to reason that providers need to keep abreast of the latest technologies. This would have been difficult in the past due to factors associated with AI including cost, implementation and oversight. However, the cloud-based nature of many of these systems now allows firms to adopt the most cutting-edge solutions without experiencing a great deal of internal disruption. On a final note, it should also be mentioned that artificial intelligence is creating an entirely new breed of medical professionals. These experts are now learning to embrace such digital tools to offer the end user much more comprehensive and reliable service packages.
Smarter, Faster and More Efficient
The frenetic pace of the healthcare industry is not expected to slow down any time soon. If anything, experts predict that it will become even more challenging to keep up to date with the latest advancements. Professionals who implement AI-based solutions will therefore be in a much better position to supply targeted and robust solutions at the appropriate times. Of course, the ultimate goal is to supply patients and the general public with the most cutting-edge options at their disposal.
Issues Regarding Privacy
It should nonetheless be noted that there are still issues which need to be overcome. Several groups have expressed concern that artificial intelligence often relies upon patient data and similar information that could be considered private. Due in no small part to GDPR regulations, healthcare providers need to make absolutely certain that they are abiding by all relevant guidelines in order to avoid future problems with regulatory agencies. The good news is that the threat to patient privacy tends to be overstated, as AI is now focusing more upon abstract data sets when performing complex calculations.
Artificial intelligence will continue to transform the entire healthcare industry and if the past can be used as a predictive tool, the future looks very bright.