Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Indigence of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Artificial intelligence is defined as the science and engineering of creating intelligent computer systems that are able to perform tasks without receiving instructions directly from humans. These computer systems use a number of different algorithms and decision-making capabilities, as well as vast amounts of data, to provide a solution or response to a request. Today, more than ever, many technology vendors are making significant investments in AI to ensure they are able to offer solutions and services that can use the technology. Microsoft, Google, Apple, IBM and Amazon, to name a few, have all adopted and fully committed to AI and are already providing these services to consumers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) aims to mimic human cognitive functions. It is bringing a paradigm shift to healthcare, powered by increasing availability of healthcare data and rapid progress of analytics techniques. AI can be applied to various types of healthcare data. Popular AI techniques include machine learning methods for structured data, such as the classical support vector machine and neural network, and the modern deep learning, as well as natural language processing for unstructured data. Major disease areas that use AI tools include cancer, neurology and cardiology. The most popular use of artificial intelligence in healthcare is in IBM's smart cloud, where Watson lives. The Watson platform has been used in a number of disciplines within healthcare including with payers, oncology and patient risk assessment.
Anytime a new technology enters healthcare, there are a number of challenges it faces. Common setbacks of artificial intelligence in healthcare include a lack of data exchange, regulatory compliance requirements and patient and provider adoption. AI has come across all of these issues, narrowing down the areas in which it can succeed.
The following are four areas in which artificial intelligence in healthcare is gaining steam.
Health Wellness Virtual Assistant
The application of AI in the form of a personal assistant can have an incredible impact on monitoring and assisting patients with some of their needs when clinical personnel are not available. Healthcare apps can be used to deliver medication alerts, patient education material and human-like interactions to gauge a patient's current mental state. Google Deepmind and G Suite aim to solve patient record complications by providing a secure, yet convenient way to access and transfer records while adhering to HIPAA rules and regulations.
Research Analytics on Healthcare records
The capabilities of AI do not stop at understanding human commands and knowing what type of response is needed. For example, AI has been used in many advanced use cases in oncology to help detect abnormalities in X-rays and MRIs, in genomics to perform complex processing and in precision medicine to provide assistance in creating highly customized treatments for individual patients. For example IBM Watson, the AI has successfully applied its capabilities to process structured and unstructured patient data. In the field of oncology, IBM Watson can provide evidence-based treatment recommendations for cancer patients.            
Personalised Health Monitoring
Care providers who treat patients with chronic diseases recognize the importance of maintaining contact with their patients outside of the exam room. Several hospitals have introduced life coaching services as part of their overall care, but the cost of such services compared to the current shrinking reimbursements makes it difficult to sustain such programs. However, with today's robust AI capabilities and mobile apps, patients can receive feedback on a number of data elements captured on their phone or wearable devices. Whether it relates to medication adherence or is simply a motivational voice that encourages fitness activities and healthy habits, AI as a personal life coach creates a customized experience for each individual patient and offers proactive alerts that can be sent back to physicians.
Robotic Healthcare Application
One of the new areas of AI that is beginning to gain adoption is in the field of customer service, and healthcare robots are likely to be available soon as part of what healthcare providers offer. A software robot is an AI application patients can interact with through a chat window on a website or via telephone to receive help with their requests. These applications can be used in situations such as scheduling follow-up appointments with a patient's provider online.
Following is an interesting video showing important use of AI in field of healthcare. This film is the showcase of a project undertaken by Samsung and Asha Ek Hope foundation, who are developing the first personalized Artificial Intelligence based Voice assistant for a patient suffering from Motor Neuron Disease, in which patients lose their ability to move and speak.

Click to Play Video on YouTube

Ms. Puja Munjal 
Assistant Professor
Department of Information Technology