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AI in Healthcare to Grow Up to $6.7 billion by 2021

Girl inside a hospital laboratory

A recent study conducted by Frost & Sullivan found out that AI systems would generate a whopping $6.7 billion from the healthcare industry alone by 2021. This is equivalent to a 40 percent annual growth rate from the market’s earned revenues of $633.8 million in 2014.

Girl inside a hospital laboratory
Photo by Ani Kolleshi from Pixabay

The word Artificial Intelligence in the field of medicine is viewed as lavish and luxurious. Aside from the moral and ethical issues it raises, the stigma it created has left the potential of AI in the sideline of healthcare service. Despite the fact and proof that AI in healthcare could bring revolutionary progress in the industry, conservative society has tended to raise eyebrows in the idea.

It was only in recent years that people have started to embrace AI in healthcare and realize the positive outcomes in the medical field. With more and more health technology companies coming into the market, AI healthcare seems to the centre of attention today.


Applications of AI in Healthcare

The medical field values AI systems a lot. Its application does not limit to only patient care but expands across the whole healthcare industry.

Treatment Customization

AI systems for healthcare primarily store and analyze medical information of patients. It helps medical providers create a digital replica of patients that allows professionals to evaluate the success rate of certain medical procedures. Through the information that AI systems provide, it is much easier for medical professionals to customize treatment path for patients precisely.

Not only AI helps in identifying the most effective treatment design for patients; it also identifies the ailments a patient is most susceptible to in the future. AI makes genetic sequencing and analysis faster by helping healthcare professionals to gain the particular genetic blueprint of a person.

Doing Repetitive Tasks

Artificial Intelligence is also beneficial in doing repetitive tasks in the medical field. Time-consuming tasks such as analyzing tests, X-Rays, and CT scans can now be done faster and more accurately through AI. With this, professionals in the future should only look at the most complicated cases where human supervision is useful.

Medication Management

Medication management is also crucial in maintaining the overall well-being of patients. This is where AI also comes in through the AI developed applications that use to monitor the condition of a patient and it’s medicine consumption frequency. Apps like AiCure ensure that patients are taking their medication as instructed through an AI webcam.


Pros of AI in Healthcare

The application of AI in healthcare has made a drastic improvement in the industry. Aside from making the work of healthcare providers a lot easier and accurate, AI in healthcare benefits the patients the most.

Since AI is designed for quick and accurate diagnosis of ailments, its application in healthcare helps decrease the mortality rate. Early detection of diseases helps professionals design more personalized treatment and eventually boost a faster recovery for patients.

With a quicker and more accurate diagnosis, it also means lesser medical failures. Without the aid of AI, doctors bare the heavy work pressure that can lead to fatigue and human errors. Though cases of death due to medical errors plummet, it doesn’t guarantee the chances of these errors will not happen again. In fact, a recent study by Johns Hopkins claims that more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors.

Going under medical treatment can be financially draining as much as it is mentally and emotionally exhausting. Artificial Intelligence can also add up to the stigma as people view it as something costly. Believe it or not, the use of AI can actually reduce medical expenses in the long-term.

Bringing in AI to the healthcare industry would indeed take a lot of investment. But it also has the potential to reduce medical costs by undertaking complex tasks that professionals would take days to do. Healthcare professionals can use this technology to study millions of data in a shorter period of time and utilize the time wisely to develop a new medical treatment.


Ethical Concerns of AI in Healthcare

The potential contributions of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare are limitless. Despite these, ethical concerns about the application of such powerful technology to the medical field are still inevitable. It’s tremendous implications on patient safety and privacy has to be addressed legally.

Given the trillions of dollars at stake, the susceptibility of AI healthcare systems against bad actors is undeniable. As such, strong defense against any attempt to infiltrate such a vulnerable dataset is needed.

Sharona Hoffman, Professor at Case Western Reserve University, in an article cited that AI’s ability to come up with a predictive report about patients’ health raises significant ethical concerns. She wrote that including such information in the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) can lead to discrimination.


AI vs. Healthcare Professionals

The application of AI in healthcare sparks the question: Will AI replace doctors?

In his article several years ago, Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla argued that doctors are no match to AI. Doctors banter with patients, ask them to describe their symptoms, hunt around for clues, and send them off with a prescription. This, he said, could sometimes accidentally lead to a correct result, but algorithms could do better.

To answer the question, AI would not replace doctors but would change the way they work. Since AI in healthcare only organizes and aggregates data, looking for trends and providing recommendations remains as human’s primary role. So, healthcare professionals needn’t worry, at least for now.

Want to know more about AI? We curated a series of AI-related articles to help you understand them better.

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