The Future of AI in Healthcare: What's Next?

The Future of AI in Healthcare: What's Next?

AI in Healthcare

Updated on 03 Jul 2023

Written by Dr. George Laliotis

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There is no doubt that AI is the future. But what about the future of AI in healthcare? There is a lot of concern about how machine learning and artificial intelligence is going to affect the way we get diagnosed, receive treatment, and get prescribed medicine. In this article we are going to cover how AI has entered the healthcare field, what to expect in the future, and what that means for you.

Just What is AI doing in Healthcare?

Not a day goes by when we don’t see new integrations of AI into our daily lives. Every sector, from marketing to insurance, uses AI to analyze data, generate content, and predict behaviors. The healthcare and medical field is no different.

With a digitizing world and large data sets, medical professionals have to rely on machine learning to be able to process large amounts of data like X-rays, medicine quality control and reported behaviors.

By harnessing the power of AI, healthcare providers can leverage vast amounts of data, automate processes, and enhance decision-making. That means more accurate diagnostics, better quality medicine, and a healthier world. With so many advancements in the healthcare field, doctors should not be left behind and embrace the future of AI in healthcare.

ai and healthcare, how is ai used in healthcare

AI and Healthcare today

Artificial intelligence is not one technology, but rather a collection of them. Most of these technologies have immediate relevance to the healthcare field, but the specific processes and tasks they support vary widely. (Source: National Library of Medicine)

 

Annotation / Imaging

 

Medical imaging, for instance, has witnessed significant advancements due to AI. Machine learning algorithms can analyze medical images with unprecedented accuracy, aiding radiologists in detecting diseases like cancer at earlier stages.

Moreover, AI-powered diagnostic tools have demonstrated remarkable capabilities in interpreting complex data sets, enabling quicker and more precise diagnoses. (Source: The Harvard Gazette)

Humans are great at pattern recognition, but machine learning can make connections and see patterns not visible to the human eye. One of the most practical applications we can expect to see in the future of AI in healthcare is the ability for AI  to completely process the screening in-depth and relay information to medical professionals who may have otherwise missed it.  

 

Diagnosis and treatment applications

 

The practice of medicine has increasingly shifted online in recent years. During the COVID pandemic, the number of messages from patients to physicians via digital portals increased by more than 50 percent. Many medical systems already use simpler chatbots to perform tasks.

such as scheduling appointments and providing people with general health information.3 

We have gotten used to doing everything online with chatbots, so why should talking to your doctor be any different? 

AI has the potential to streamline administrative tasks and improve operational efficiency. Chatbots equipped with natural language processing can handle routine patient inquiries, freeing up healthcare professionals' time and reducing waiting times. Intelligent scheduling algorithms can optimize resource allocation and minimize appointment cancellations, enhancing the overall patient experience.

AI-powered healthcare platforms are already being used by many to get second opinions, generate health reports for doctors, and connect you with health professionals. The future of AI in healthcare is here today, check out how helpful a chatbot can be in diagnosing your symptoms here.

 

Drug Discovery and Development 

 

Computational approaches to small-molecule drug design go back at least to the 1970s when efforts focused on understanding relationships between the structural characteristics of molecules and their biological activities to help suggest new candidates. 

Today, various computational approaches are routinely used to screen virtual libraries of large numbers of existing compounds looking for those that might match a newly discovered target to test in experimental assays. In fact, small-molecule discovery is the focus of many companies applying AI to pharmaceutical questions. (Source: Nature.com)

What used to take years to discover now only takes months of AI generation to discover viable molecular compositions that are both effective with minimal side effects and easy to synthesize. This cuts major research and development costs for pharmaceutical companies and allows for new AI solutions in medicine. 

The future of AI in healthcare will best be utilized with the increase of digitization, larger data sets, and push from the industry. 

AI in healthcare market growth and size

The global artificial intelligence in healthcare market size was valued at USD 15.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.5% from 2023 to 2030. That means at the current rate we can expect it to reach USD 208.2 billion by the end of the decade.5 The future of AI in healthcare is looking powerful.

The demand for personalized healthcare, a growing geriatric world population, and the accelerated need for discovering developing treatment faster are some of the biggest drivers of AI innovation in healthcare. 

While North America dominated the AI in healthcare market in 2022 and accounted for the largest revenue share of 58.0%, the Middle East and Asia are the fastest growing markets that are ready to embrace the new wave. 

With data growing more and more accessible, it will be easier for more players to enter the market and thanks to low running costs of AI, more niche healthcare issues can be tackled. This gives a fair advantage to smaller players who want in on the future of AI in healthcare. 

There has never been a better time to start looking into and investing time to learn more about the future of AI in healthcare.

ai and healthcare, how is ai used in healthcare

Future AI Applications in Healthcare

Looking ahead, the future of AI in healthcare holds tremendous potential to reshape the entire industry. Here are some possibilities that could become a reality:

 

1. Precision Medicine

 

AI algorithms can leverage genomics, proteomics, and other molecular data to predict disease susceptibility, tailor treatment plans, and identify optimal therapeutic targets. With the accumulation of data sets, there will be better information for the algorithm to discover new ways to create medicine that will not have side effects, increase drug efficacy, and make it available to the public sooner. 

 

2. Smart Healthcare Systems

 

 AI-powered systems can analyze vast amounts of patient data, identify patterns, and make proactive recommendations for preventive measures, leading to a shift from reactive to proactive healthcare. The future of AI in healthcare depends on data being shared, partnerships, and readiness for people to adopt the new generation of technology that will bring them more precise, affordable, and preemptive healthcare. 

 

3. Virtual Health Assistants

 

Advanced conversational AI agents can provide personalized, context-aware recommendations, support patients in managing chronic conditions, and offer mental health support. You can even start talking to a virtual health assistant now here.

 

4. Robotic Assistance

 

Intelligent robots can assist surgeons during complex procedures, perform repetitive tasks with precision, and enhance surgical outcomes through augmented reality visualization. Many planes, tractors, and other machinery we depend on use AI to operate, so it is not out of the realm of possibility to imagine a world in which medical surgeons use highly precise robots to perform surgeries.

 

Ethics

As major advancements are made in the future of AI in healthcare, it is best to remember that behind every decision is still a human being. Medical professionals still have to overview prescriptions and approve of any medical advice given. 

It is best to think of AI not as a replacement for your medical professional but a new set of tools for the healthcare field to utilize in assessing problems, developing solutions, and treating people. 

While different countries have different laws, there will definitely has to be new legislation written to define to what extent AI can be utilized to develop medicine.

Conclusion

Key Takeaway Points:

  • AI in healthcare has the potential to revolutionize patient care by improving diagnostic accuracy, enhancing treatment plans, and enabling personalized medicine.
  • Leveraging AI technologies can lead to increased operational efficiency, reduced healthcare costs, and improved patient experiences.
  • AI is already being utilized in all sectors of the healthcare industry and is showing large potential for growth
  • Ethical considerations and the need for human oversight are critical factors in ensuring the responsible integration of AI into healthcare systems.

 

The future of AI in healthcare is poised to revolutionize the industry, offering unprecedented opportunities for improving patient care, reducing costs, and enhancing operational efficiency.

With the integration of AI technologies, healthcare providers can harness the power of data to make more accurate diagnoses, develop more precise and personalized medicine, and predict medical issues that can be prevented preemptively. 

The future of AI in healthcare is not as distant and before you know it you will be getting a second opinion from an app, receiving a personalized prescription, and benefiting from higher-quality medicine, all thanks to AI. 

Remember it is always important to check all information with your doctor and understand that computers can still make mistakes. With more data and improved testing, we will hopefully see a day when the healthcare field becomes near perfect.

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