Artificial intelligence (AI) involves the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer-driven machines. These machines are programmed to replicate human thoughts and actions by acquiring information, to learn by analyzing the information, to rationalize the information by solving or anticipating problems to reach conclusions and to constantly upgrade or evolve itself by processing the information.
Alexa or Siri are the leading examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) wherein this science of the development of intelligent machines duplicates rational behaviors parallel to humans through iterative development and learning. First invented by an American Computer scientist John McCarthy in 1958, AI is quickly becoming the heart of many sectors such as transportation, finance, healthcare, banking and many more. AI is being employed in Chatbots, Healthcare, Human Resource Management, eCommerce, Logistics and supply chain, streamlined manufacturing, sports betting industry, Stock Market Trading, self-driven cars, etc.
Like in other industrial sectors, AI promises huge benefits for the healthcare sector as well. From patient-care in hospitals to drug-development, AI-based applications cater to almost all the horizons of the healthcare sector.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare uses various algorithms and software to estimate human cognition in the rational analysis of complex medical data. With the advancement in the biochemical and genetic studies, it is a widely accepted fact that different individuals respond differently to the prescription of the health care providers. This scenario happens due to the wide diversity in the variable genetic information of the individuals. Along with the differentiated response towards prescription, different individuals react differently towards different health-related issues, be it an infection or environment change or any other factor. Until very recently, these factors were not considered to be very important in drug designing and evaluation, and probably were the major cause of increasing side effects and drug resistance. AI helps to quickly and accurately convert such data into diagnoses. Health-Related AI applications analyze relationships between prevention or treatment techniques and patient outcomes. AI offers to provide improved speed, lower cost, large capacity, better quality and consistency of data management and interpretation, and ultimately better healthcare.
Artificial Intelligence is basically a training module for a machine which will take all the individual parameters into consideration and will help in modelling an intelligent machine to eventually predict the outcome of the desired query. The machine learning model may be supervised which will predict a yes or no outcome, or an unsupervised model which will identify the trends and patterns in the given data. The modelling is based on the user’s requirement. The best part of AI due to which it is gaining much importance is that the proposed predictive model will increase its efficiency with its increased usage, that is, the more you use the better it will become. With constant evolution, AI could thereby help the prognosis of disease conditions faster and ultimately improve the Diagnosis and Patient treatment.
With the rapid advancements in analytical techniques, it is becoming increasingly possible to manage and utilize a huge amount of medical data using Artificial intelligence tools. IBM Watson Health is one such platform that is supporting cancer care in more than 300 hospitals and health organizations through data analytics and AI. IBM Watson uses Artificial intelligence (AI) for annotation of clinical data and derives medical insights based on patient similarities using the patient’s historical medical record. Also, several drug discovery platforms have been come up that use AI to design newer drugs or re-design the pre-existing drugs in order to enhance their potency.
More recently created apps like Babylon provides medical consultation, Amazon Alexa gives basic health information and advice for ill children, AiCure app monitors the use of medication by the patients. Molly, a digital nurse, is based on machine learning which is an essential ingredient of AI, helps people monitor the condition of patients. Certain apps use AI to examine the patient data to highlight mistakes in treatments, work-flow inefficiencies, etc. to avoid unnecessary patient hospitalizations. Also, Telemedicine or virtual presence allows specialists to assist their patients living in remote locations. There are AI System being worked upon that would tell you the possibility of potential blindness based on Retina Images. AI-driven Wheelchairs worked upon by Intel And Hoobox Robotics is another achievement of AI-based healthcare.
There are growing even speculations that AI-based tools could reduce jobs for human radiologists in near future since imaging and radiology being expensive techniques, any alternative that could reduce human labor, lower costs, and improve diagnostic accuracy would be accepted gleefully. Overall, AI tools would prove to be extremely useful to save labor and cost where-ever there is repetitive work that does not involve specialized medical practitioners.
The immense potential of AI has always attracted a lot of investors and its blend AI with health-care usages is no different. Companies are expecting high ROI (return on investment) in this field. More and more companies are trying to file applications for patents on AI products in the healthcare industry. Vigorus development in the field of artificial intelligence began during the early 2000s. The factor that led to the evolution of artificial intelligence was the technological advancement in the field of computer science with the development of the software and algorithms that process data sets obtained from the diagnosis and correlate it with the clinical conditions. This brought about an influx of positivity due to AI in the Research and development activities in the Healthcare sector, and a significant rise in the patent filing could be seen beginning from 2011- 2012 (as shown in Figure 1).
Figure 1: Showing Filing trend over the years in the area of AI in healthcare.
This increase in patent filing can also be attributed to the enhanced understanding of the complex medical diseases such as cancer. These evident advantages have encouraged a lot of companies and institutions to dedicate their research and development in this field. Siemens, IBM, Rockwell Automation, Philips, Samsung Electronics and GE healthcare are few of the leading patent filing companies in Artificial intelligence-based healthcare sector (Figure 2). Many research institutes like the regents of the University of Michigan, Case Western Reserve University have also been seen to work rigorously in filing patents in this domain.
Figure 2: Showing Top assignees in the domain.
Siemens, IBM, Samsung Electronics, General Electric, and Philips are the leading assignees in the healthcare sector of Artificial intelligence. Siemens has invented decision support systems for computerized detection and treatment of breast cancer. Samsung Electronics has developed computer intelligent systems for help in diagnosis. IBM Corporation has designed decision support systems for assistance in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Philips has developed clinical decision support systems for both diagnosing and treating cancer as well as neurological disorders like Alzheimer syndrome.
Artificial intelligence can provide patient and workflow assistance. AI’s potential for revolutionizing the healthcare sector by reducing cost and improving patient outcomes is the driving force for capturing corporate attention and increasing the influx of monetary capitals. The wave of AI has not only captured the pharma investors but has also attracted big technology companies and Venture Capitalists. Investors poured in $3.6B across 481 deals into healthcare AI startups from Q1’13 – Q1’18. The Healthcare industry is positively accepting AI as is reflected by a forecasted CAGR of 50.2% from 2018 to 2025 with an expected increase from USD 2.1 million to USD 36.1 million (Figure 3). North American region accounts for a larger share than APAC (Asia-Pacific) region in this domain. This is due to the technological advancement establishment and high GDP contribution to healthcare in the North American region that includes the US and Canada. Whereas, APAC holds the second position.
Figure 3: Showing the scope of Artificial intelligence in the coming years.
By viewing the above facts and figures, it can be concluded that the interest of corporations in the healthcare sector is increasing and would rapidly increase in the coming years when these and similar IP assets would reach the commercial platforms. Companies are not only self-developing but are eyeing partnerships/collaborations with AI solution providers/consumers for maintaining their footprint in the AI market. This implicates huge incentives for the universities and individual inventors and thereby would motivate them to do extensive research yielding in the continuous development in the Healthcare industry. Also, the role played by the patients is highly important since it is their accurate dissemination of knowledge of personal health that would determine the progress and development of vital AI-based health care solutions such as personalized medicine. Moreover, the confidence of the contributor to the safety of personal data is another integral component for the enhanced use of AI.
Though AI is eliminating the chances of errors and is bringing accuracy in the results, it is also leading to the fear of unemployment. However, one needs to understand that the main aim of AI is to support the people involved in medical care and enhance their capabilities by offering improved care and assistance, not to replace them.
AI, therefore, offers a huge list of potential benefits to the healthcare industry, comprising error-free healthcare system, fast and accurate diagnostics, Cost reduction, Drug discovery, Assessing the effectiveness of the treatment in the patients (eg. Chemotherapy in cancer patients) and Virtual Presence. AI-based applications have a relevant impact on improving health as well as the quality of life. We have seen AI, being helpful, in those cases where medical practitioner and patient are miles away or are present in hard to reach the remote location.
Thus, AI opens up a world of limitless opportunities in Health-care.