How AI Will Enhance Digital Healthcare in the Near Future

Nurse holding a phone

2021 has been a year of big advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. From next-generation medical diagnostics and more, what we’ve seen so far has been incredible—and things are just revving up.

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AI is becoming increasingly sophisticated at doing the jobs humans do, but faster, cheaply, and with fewer errors. The potential for AI in healthcare is immense, and we’ll see it play an increasingly important role in our lives over the next few years. Let’s take a closer look at how AI will shape healthcare in the near future.

Why AI is Needed in Healthcare

With an aging population and a growing rate of disease incidence, the need for good healthcare continues to grow. The problem is, the number of physicians isn’t increasing at the same rate—meaning there’s a gap in supply and demand. 

This is even more pronounced in rural communities, where access to healthcare is highly limited. This becomes a vicious circle: without access to healthcare, patients’ symptoms deteriorate, increasing their need for care. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation as hospital beds are taken up with COVID patients while those suffering from other illnesses—and especially those living with chronic conditions—end up at the back of the queue. 

AI-based care, such as chatbots and telehealth, is ushering in a new type of affordable digital care. 

One example is Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). This practice relies on sensors to record patient stats, which are then reported back to a practitioner who can make a diagnosis remotely. It also makes it easier for the patient to self-monitor, reducing the pressure on practitioners—something that’s a game-changer when it comes to chronic care management.

These technologies have become all the more important during the pandemic, with its lockdowns and social distancing rules—and patients, physicians, providers, and stakeholders are beginning to see the huge benefits.

AI and robotics are bringing a wealth of benefits to the healthcare industry, helping out in areas as varied as diagnostics and detection, to training and research (Image Source).

What AI Looks Like in the Healthcare Arena

AI has fueled advancements in diagnostics and treatment previously thought impossible, and these advancements keep progressing. 

Traditionally, practitioners collected data manually. This is all changing as healthcare professionals move towards digitized workflows in an attempt to save time while providing faster, more cost-effective care. Here are some of the benefits:

Faster and Easier Prioritization

AI can help doctors determine which cases are more urgent, and which physicians and tools will be needed for each case. This means the patient is matched up with an expert who can meet their needs—something that’s especially important in complex cases.

Better Support for Oncology Patients 

AI tools can help with precise and timely diagnosis and assessments, helping to locate cancerous cells for some kinds of the disease. This takes the pressure off the physician while giving the patient the answers they need. As a result, case reporting is faster and treatment can begin sooner. Meanwhile, tasks that were previously performed manually (e.g., counting cells and filling reports) can be handed over to the AI tools, freeing physicians up to spend more time with their patients.

Better Diagnostics 

Analyzing data manually is time-consuming, with human error being a constant risk factor. 

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, a high proportion of mammograms give false readings, leading to 1 in 2 healthy women being wrongly told they have cancer. AI is enabling translation of mammograms 30 times faster with 99% accuracy, reducing the need for unnecessary biopsies.

With advanced machine learning capabilities, AI tools will be able to analyze data faster, more accurately, and with more insight than is currently possible. Rather than just mirroring a physician’s diagnosis in the way that early chatbots responded with phrases someone else had entered, these AI tools will draw from a vast storage of data (e.g., clinical data, pathology, imaging, etc.) to decide on the most appropriate treatment. It’s like experts from each field all meeting and discussing a way forward—only it’s done in seconds, using a computer. We’ll start seeing physicians teaming up with these AI tools to provide unparalleled diagnostics in the future. 

Research and Training 

According to the California Biomedical Research Association, it takes an average of 12 years for a drug to travel from the research lab to the patient—and it costs approximately US $359 million to develop a new drug from lab to patient. AI is streamlining and speeding up the process and making it a lot cheaper.

Improved Treatment for Chronic Illness Sufferers

Chronic illnesses are typically complex, with a cocktail of primary and secondary symptoms requiring specialist support. Care can become fragmented. AI can help clinicians take a more in-depth approach to disease management, with better-coordinated care plans that help patients with long-term treatment programs.

How ChronWell Has Been Working with AI So Far

The potential and benefits of AI tools are huge, which is why we’ve already started integrating them into our software. 

“Our AI hybrid approach collaboratively pairs technology with people—skilled healthcare and service professionals. AI first serves as ChronWell’s core intelligence engine for monitoring injured workers by powering our care navigation dashboard, Recovry Central. Recovry Central provides all parties a transparent view of coordinated case management for each and every injured worker to boost care, communication and engagement,” says Matt Schreiber, Chief Revenue Officer at ChronWell, in an interview with Disruptor Daily.

“ChronWell also uses AI for proprietary risk profiling and deep psychosocial evaluations during injured worker engagement. This technology allows ChronWell to detect early warning signs of situations that could possibly derail fast recovery, allowing for early intervention during all parts of their journey to drive intelligent care recommendations and yield better outcomes for injured workers, employers, and insurers,” he added. 

If you’d like to find out more about AI healthcare solutions for chronic conditions, speak to one of our experts today.   

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