Whether or not George Washington cut down a cherry tree is up for debate. What’s not for debate? George died from a lack of technology in healthcare. That’s right. George had a sore throat. His doctor decided that the best way to help him was bloodletting. This is the archaic practice of draining blood from patients to heal them. The doctor drained too much from George. Presently, we treat sore throats differently. Technology has advanced so much that we’re seeing how artificial intelligence benefits healthcare. That means a better overall quality of life, financial savings and better diagnostic and care methods.
Artificial Intelligence In Medicine
Artificial Intelligence refers to machines taking on automated tasks humans usually do. Machines can do these tasks much faster, with a tiny risk of error, and around the clock. There are various levels of artificial intelligence – it’s not all robots taking over the hospital. Many of these artificial intelligences come in the form of administrative tasks which save funds and increase productivity. There are countless artificial intelligence benefits but, today we’ll look at just a few.
Behind The Scenes AI
First, one of the biggest benefits of AI is automation. Notes get lost, misinterpreted, or take a long time but, artificial intelligence enables voice-to-text. A human voice is transcribed and entered immediately into the system, part of the permanent record. Machine learning, another aspect of AI, allows the voice-to-text application to understand how different speakers inflect and starts making fewer mistakes as it goes.
One of the most incredible applications of artificial intelligence benefits women when it comes to one of their biggest killers: breast cancer. Other than some forms of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women across all races and ethnicities, the leading cancer-related death among Hispanic women, and the second most common cancer-related death amount among indigenous, black, Asian/Pacific Island, and white women in the United States (CDC).
Two independent studies published by the National Institute of Health found that 50-63% of women who get regular mammograms will receive at least one false-positive during a ten-year period. A false-positive is an image believed to indicate cancer but, none is present. These results require more testing and sometimes lead to biopsies or other procedures. Why do these happen? Human error. Studies found that as much as a third of the time, two radiologists looking at the exact same image will provide a different analysis of that image. (Forbes)
Women who receive false-positive results are burdened with worry, additional medical visits (which can be costly) and are more likely not to take future positives seriously. They may also be less diligent in scheduling mammograms after a false-positive (NIH).
How does artificial intelligent benefit women? Visual Pattern Recognition. Engineers build programs to analyze data and images so that cancer screenings are far more accurate.
In The Operating Room
Many surgeries require significant cutting and even bone breaking or sawing in order to get to the problem area. With AI smaller instruments can be used to make incisions that are then the conduit for microtools to do the surgery. This decreases surgery and healing time and decreases the risk for infection.
Two methods of artificial intelligence making differences in present-day hospitals are Da Vinci and Heartlander. Da Vinci enables imagery and mapping of a surgery plus remote-controlled tools. The surgeon is able to see what she is doing, even though it is mostly on a small-scale beneath the surface. HeartLander is a mobile robot revolutionizing heart surgery. A small incision beneath the sternum allows HeartLander access to the heart without sawing through ribs. The device can perform many tasks and leaves a patient with far less healing.
These types of devices save financial institutions, patients and insurance companies money thanks to limiting healing, reducing risk, and shortening hospital stays for recovery.
Two of the biggest expenses to patients, insurance companies and health care institutions arise from patients going to the emergency room when it’s unnecessary and waiting to long to go in an actual emergency.
Artificial intelligence benefits healthcare by using virtual nurses who can help patients navigate symptoms and even triage injuries or find nearby urgent care facilities. By working through symptoms and having immediate access to patient records the AI can get the patient exactly what they need.
How Can AI Benefit You?
As a healthcare institution, insurance company or patient saving time, reducing risk and getting accurate information are vital to your big picture. Artificial Intelligence does all of these things in every arena of the medical field.
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