The AI Doctor will see you now.
Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care is projected to grow tenfold in five years, say analysts— for everything from cancer diagnosis to diet tips according to a recent report from research firm Frost & Sullivan. Specifically, it will be a growth from $600 million to over $600 billion in 2021.
The report states that clinical support from AI will strengthen medical imaging diagnosis processes. In addition, the use of AI solutions for hospital workflows will enhance care delivery. Overall, the experts are predicting that AI has the potential to improve outcomes by 30 to 40 percent while cutting treatment costs by as much as 50 percent.
“Already playing a critical role in other industries, AI systems are poised to transform how we think about disease diagnosis and treatment,” said Frost & Sullivan Transformational Health Industry Analyst Harpreet Singh Buttar in a released statement. “Augmenting the expertise of trained clinicians, AI systems will provide an added layer of decision support capable of helping mitigate oversights or errors in care administration.”
While AI won’t take away the job of physicians, they look to spare overworked doctors of dangerous fatigue that can lead to mistakes. Computer-aided diagnosis can weigh more factors than a doctor could on their own, such as reviewing all of a patient’s history in an instant and weighing risk factors such as age, previous diseases, and residence (if it’s in a heavily populated area) to come up with a short list of possible diagnoses, even a percent of confidence rating that it’s disease X or syndrome Y. Much of this involves processing what’s called “unstructured data”, such as notes from previous exams, scan images, or photos. Taking a first pass on x-rays and other radiology scans is one of the big applications for AI that Frost & Sullivan expects.
Further research and fine tuning of the AI engine will facilitate the optimized use of AI systems for both clinical decision support and workflow logistics within hospitals. Selecting the right solution partners and business models will be a critical determinant of success.
“By 2025, AI systems could be involved in everything from population health management, to digital avatars capable of answering specific patient queries” noted Buttar. “On a global scale, in regions with high underserved patient populations, AI is expected to play a significant role in democratization of information and mitigating resource burdens.”
Currently, computer-aided diagnosis and treatment are already being tried at 16 cancer institute’s working with IBMs Watson Health artificial intelligence venture, which launched in April 2015.