AI and How It Can Better Your Healthcare

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

How AI can better your healthcare

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

AI has been portrayed as a technology that can replace humans and has been often been stereotyped as only being applicable in mathematics by entertainment and media. The actual technology is beneficial to so many more fields.

Artificial intelligence is a computer system that has the ability to work with algorithms and past data to replicate decision making and tasks that would usually require human intelligence. AI research first began in 1955 and has since developed from a simple system to one of the most powerful modern technologies known.

AI has several uses in other fields, but its potential in healthcare is particularly promising. AI could revolutionize the way we receive healthcare.

AI is applicable in disease screening and can help detect them earlier than in traditional testing. An AI developed by researchers Houston Methodist Research Institute in Texas can detect breast cancer 30x faster than a human doctor can, and with 99% accuracy. Considering that traditional mammograms give false positives about 50% of the time, this type of diagnostic testing is cutting edge. AI is also being integrated into wearable tech such as watches and necklaces, which may detect early signs of disease without even a trip to the doctor’s office.

This tech could help not only in detection, but also in treatment. While it’s still in a trial phase, AI is already being implemented in ORs all over the world. Robotic surgeons are used to either aid human surgeons in procedures or to perform surgeries all by themselves. The famous meme, “they did surgery on a grape”, was about the Da Vinci surgical system, a state of the art robotic arm capable of micro-surgery, stitching a grape back together. AI is also used in laboratory and research settings to perform repetitive tasks and to support those with long-term issues to help socialize and care for them 24 hours a day.

Though AI helps with direct provider to patient care, it could also lessen how often you actually have to see your doctor. As mentioned before, AI is being integrated into wearable tech for early disease detection. This technology could be used also for virtual doctor visits, where instead of seeing a human face, you meet an algorithm. Instead of a lengthy drive and wait, your appointment could be on your own time, at your location of choice. While it may not be able to give you a CT scan or a shot, it could diagnose common diseases and prescribe medications or at-home treatment, and you’d no longer have to go all the way to their office to get flu medicine.

While some more traditional healthcare professionals may fear that AI will take over their jobs, the reality is that AI will change their jobs, not take them. AI will make their jobs less technology-based and more hands-on in fact, as AI will take over repetitive jobs and can’t do jobs requiring human intuition and intelligence.

While artificial intelligence isn’t yet perfected, its potential and performance so far brings hope that this technology can better how we maintain our health.