The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Healthcare Industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to play a game-changing role in patient care. Let’s take a small example of its help in medical diagnosis. Imagine a scenario where a patient walks into a doctor’s office with symptoms indicative of several possible illnesses.  The doctor, to be sure, consults a digital assistant which scans a global database and comes up with a solution based on deep data analysis. The doctor goes on to prescribe further tests to confirm the prediction,  and here too, machine learning helps with comparing the images to the database and confirms the most likely cause of illness.  The doctor has just hastened patient care and with the help of accumulated intelligence has diagnosed the case. Not stopping there, the doctor introduces the patient to a chat-bot that explains the disease and its treatment. It schedules follow-up visits as well as any further investigations, if required. AI has just proved how invaluable it can be in patient care, by shortening the diagnosis to treatment curve.  Where time is of the essence, AI has proved how invaluable it can be.

Machine learning has brought AI to the forefront of healthcare and it is likely that its impact on diagnosing and treating diseases will be unsurpassed.  Recognizing this trend, a 2016 study by Frost & Sullivan, projects AI in healthcare to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, a 40 percent growth rate.  The study further confirms that AI will enhance patient care delivery by strengthening the medical imaging diagnosis process.    As an industry disrupter, AI will create real value for patients by supporting prevention, diagnosis, treatment, management and drug creation.

Technology experts predict that in the next couple of decades AI will be a standard component of healthcare – augmenting and amplifying human effort.  Its role will be as impactful and as quiet as the common X-ray machine.  It will also automate several health care tasks that are time-consuming and which require tons of unstructured data to be converted into intelligence.

While some of the innovations that we are talking about are futuristic in nature, AI has already quietly infiltrated this industry. It is already being used by healthcare players to manage billing, appointment fixing, and logistics planning.  To move into core clinical areas requires an amassing of data and that too has already begun.  With quantifiable data, diagnostics will become accurate and as a result indispensable in medical treatment.  Does this mean that we will see robot doctors in the place of human medical professionals?  Let’s leave that to science fiction movies for now.  What is more likely to happen is AI-enabled medical professionals.

To summarize, we can only imagine AI’s impact on saving human lives, going forward. For example, just imagine people in remote areas with limited access to diagnostics.  AI has just helped the local medical professional to remotely prescribe treatment, deliver medicines through an automated delivery system and prescribe telemedicine.  In a way, it has just helped to shrink the world.

Technology companies focusing on the healthcare segment are investing in Centers of Excellence where AI empowered healthcare IoT will bring about some dynamic changes, not to mention better control over existing processes such as supply chain, inventory management, equipment management, invoicing and drug development and reduce latency, lower cost and deliver operational efficiency. At Trigent, while we solve the problem of productivity, we remain focused on helping healthcare organizations take care of more people with less resources.  We do this by tapping our knowledge, experience and expertise in data and machine learning.

Why Advanced Analytics is the Future of Healthcare Organizations

Research and Markets announces that the global market for advanced analytics totalled $207.4 billion in 2015, and should total nearly $219.3 billion by 2020, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.1%, through 2020. According to them, the advanced analytics market comprises applications for the following industries: banking and financial services, telecommunications and IT, healthcare, government and defense, transportation and logistics, and consumer goods and retail.

Focusing on the healthcare industry, their larger-than-life problem today is the need to provide value to patients, while remaining cost effective and competitive. They need to move from volume-based services to value based services, by providing more for less and become more patient-centric. But how is this possible in a typical scenario where medical professionals are often overworked due to lack or shortage of staff. Where complex illnesses, longevity and lack of knowledge are contributory factors, upsetting the equilibrium of the industry!

Superimpose this scenario with the Internet era, where patients have more access to information, and their expectations from their healthcare providers is also higher. Where they demand more accountability from doctors, nurses and even their health plans and you know the magnitude of their woes.

If healthcare organizations are able to manage all these problems, they still need to find ways to differentiate themselves from competition to attract and retain people.  Where are the resources, the time and the people to achieve all this in a fast moving scenario?

Moving away from internal issues, healthcare organizations are stressed to differentiate themselves to attract and retain people.

Maybe then analytics can be a solution as it provides better insights into treatments and technologies. It can help to improve efficiencies, reduce risk and provide a means to gather and decipher critical data to provide better services.

Seeing the potential of information technology, there has been a proliferation of clinical research systems, electronic health records and devices since the last five years or so. Information explosion and an abundance of data exists today as a result of these devices, but this is resulting in clutter more than intelligence. It is an added dilemma for health organizations to sift through this information to find real value from the same. Already overworked and understaffed, healthcare organizations find data daunting rather than determining.

Luckily the trend is already changing and analytics in healthcare is paving the way for predictive intelligence where healthcare organizations can use data to make intelligent predictions.

Healthcare analytics is not a destination, but a journey that is never completed. If we were to look at an example of analytics in healthcare, we can say, that retrospective analytics is most common, where a hospital looks at its records to see the number of patients who were admitted, causes for admission and so on and so forth. Predictive analysis would require taking this data and looking for common trends to predict the future and finally optimizing the results to save costs and provide greater value to patients will complete the cycle.

Advanced analytics requires the help of a software company which has deep domain knowledge. While most healthcare companies, due to security and fraudulence fears may believe that managing data is an in house task, the fact remains that it requires in-depth technical and domain knowledge to convert data into intelligence.