The Future of the Healthcare Industry: Artificial Intelligence

By Staff Writer 

Like any other industry, staying uptodate in the latest healthcare trends can keep you ahead of the competition. As technology rapidly advances, artificial intelligence – or AI – is popping up where you’d least expect it. 

We have this preconceived notion that AI is synonymous with cutting edge androids and movies like Her or Blade Runner. Although there is most certainly exciting research going on in those departments, a lot of effort goes towards optimizing customer experiences. 

You are familiar with AIs such as Siri or Alexa – but, you have probably been interacting with AIs without even realizing it. Retailers like Macy’s and H&M use sophisticated technology to streamline their customer service. Even Taco Bell implemented AI strategies to offer new customer experiences.  

Although the healthcare industry deals with some more sensitive data, AI programs offer a chance to change how we do medicine.  

What can AI do? 

AI can do a lot more than hold conversations and help order nachos. They are incredibly complex programs that can perform tasks with high levels of accuracy. There are so many types of programs out there – all with distinct abilities and purposes.  

There are several different applications where AI can make an impact. These address a wide range of things, from infrastructure to pain management (ShethJaiminiThirunarayan, & Banerjee, 2017).  

The ability to decipher, store, and analyze data on such a large scale is something that makes AI a smart investment (Yu, Beam, Kohane, 2018). There are even some huge things in the works that would revolutionize how society handles healthcare. Even the most complex medical tasks, such as tissue evaluations, are potentially doable through AI technology (PathAI, 2020). 

These innovations could potentially tackle many of our medical shortages headon. Creating a systematic way to tackle minor problems can offer experts time and brainpower to focus on more complex issues.  

In the long run, this can save the health care industry a lot of time and money as they use AI to optimize efficiency.  

Why does this matter? 

Some people like to maintain tradition above innovation. We’ve “managed” doing things in the old ways for years, so why start changing things up now?  

Innovation offers a way for industries to flourish and thrive rather than to keep on surviving.  

Many experts wonder whether or not it makes sense to invest in newer technologies. The thing is, AI is not some fad that is dying in the passing days.  

These programs are not some shiny toy that will fade away after their novelty wears off. AIs are amazing inventions that are the future of all aspects of society.  

While they are not perfect, AIs are improving at unprecedented rates. From a business standpoint, it makes more sense to stay at the head of the curve rather than playing catchup later.  

Some individuals maintain a stand that they refuse to switch over to a system where machine replaces man. These worries are often unfounded as the technology can’t entirely replace human workers 

A study conducted by the BMC Health Services Research argued that AI technology has the potential to help with the human resources crisis the current system faces. Rather than “replace” employees, innovations may redefine the standards healthcare employees must meet 

“While there are even more questions to address, our stand is that AI is not meant to replace caregivers, but those who use AI will probably replace those who don’t. And it is possible to prepare for that.” (Mesko, Hetenyi, & Gyorffy, 2018).  

Is this the future of healthcare? 

While AI is undoubtedly going to be the center of focus in medicine for many years to come, there still begs the question of whether or not this will “redefine” the industry. Although we can only speculate at the moment, there is sufficient evidence to argue that these practices will become commonplace.  

Many of the “roadblocks” universal AI implementations face have to do with the lack of systematic support. If you expect to use artificial intelligence everywhere, a need for a reformed infrastructure will arise.  

The industry as a whole needs to decide whether or not this infrastructure is worth placing. The frontlines of clinical practice will need to make some adaptations to accommodate such innovations. 

Although making these shifts takes some financial and literal effort, these kinds of executive decisions can have lasting benefits for generations to come. There were many different “innovations” that some experts believed weren’t worth the time.  

As argued in one publication, experts in the 1800s criticized improved sanitation infrastructure and regarded it as a controversial investment (Panch, Mattie, & Celo, 2019). Which side will you stand on during this technological revolution pushing AI? 

References: 

Meskó, B., Hetényi, G., & Győrffy, Z. (2018). Will artificial intelligence solve the human resource crisis in healthcare?.BMC health services research, 18(1), 545. 

Panch, T., Mattie, H., & Celi, L. A. (2019). The “inconvenient truth” about AI in healthcare. Npj Digital Medicine, 2(1), 1-3. 

Pathology Evolved. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.pathai.com/ 

Sheth, A., Jaimini, U., Thirunarayan, K., & Banerjee, T. (2017, September). Augmented personalized health: how smart data with IoTs and AI is about to change healthcare. In 2017 IEEE 3rd International Forum on Research and Technologies for Society and Industry (RTSI) (pp. 1-6). IEEE. 

Yu, K. H., Beam, A. L., & Kohane, I. S. (2018). Artificial intelligence in healthcare. Nature biomedical engineering, 2(10), 719-731.