AI is no more a nascent technology, as its beginning was formally announced back in 1956, at a conference at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire. It though, never has been really simple with enormous reports criticizing government funding, leading to “AI winter” between 1974 to 80; AI gained momentum in 1980s, getting funded again by the British government to stand tall in front of the efforts by the government of Japan. The area of technology got the setback again from 1987 to 1993, and got revived again in 1997, with the win of chess championship by the first computer IBM’s Deep Blue. The evolution in AI happened with a number of hiccups though, leading the technology emerge as the most promising technology, the world can ever imagine.
According to a survey conducted by Forbes in 2019, of all the technologies, Big Data Analytics and AI are the leading technologies to impact the healthcare industry, as shown below.
The contribution of AI in healthcare industry, especially in disease surveillance is also gaining a huge momentum in recent times, so that the disease outbreaks and epidemics can be detected well on time; this will definitely play a pivotal role in improving the way, the upcoming threat will be responded to. The world can no further afford the lockdowns owing to the time-consuming traditional ways of disease surveillance, that fail to save governments and public health authorities from huge challenges in controlling the epidemic. The latest computer-based surveillance systems are certainly needed for on-time information so that the health authorities can handle the situation efficiently, by controlling the spread.
The incorrect diagnosis has always posed a major issue in healthcare industry. According to a report released by GE Healthcare, in 2015, diagnostic error was the third largest cause that accounted for about 10% of total deaths in the US. That certainly being a major concern, is one of the AI’s biggest areas of application today.
With the sole mission to reduce diagnostic errors, PathAI, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is implementing machine learning technology in pathology laboratories.
In Symptom Checking
Buoy Health, a healthcare company based in Boston, Massachusetts, uses AI technology in the form of chatbots that listen to the symptoms and direct the patient to the treatment accordingly.
Entilic based in San Francisco, California, that has been entitled as the 5th smartest artificial intelligence company in the world, performs diagnosis on its deep learning platform to analyze the medical data including radiology images, blood test reports, patients’ data, etc. to provide the doctors, a deep insight into the patients’ illnesses.
Another company, Zebra Medical Vision based in Shefayim, Israel provides real-time assistance to radiologists by getting them with automatically analyzed imaging scans, which are considered to conclude the diagnosis.
In Cancer Detection
Freenome, located in San Francisco, California, implements AI in screening of Cancer to detect deadly disease in its initial stages, so that the subsequent treatment can be effective.
In Blood Disease Diagnosis
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center located in Boston, Massachusetts, applies artificial intelligence to diagnose blood diseases at a very early stage, using AI-enhanced microscopes to test blood samples much faster than ever. The scientists taught the machines about how to detect bacteria in the slides. The machines now can detect the bacteria with 95%accuracy.
In Treatment Drug Development
Taking a note of the AI’s immense knowledge base and accuracy, several biopharmaceutical companies started using the AI’s assistance in drug research and development.
A ‘robot scientist’ named Adam was developed to research on the reactions taking place in yeast. Another robot Eve was developed that came up with an amazing finding that the common component of a toothpaste, triclosan could be used to fight parasites causing malaria.
Drug manufacturing companies that used AI assistance to develop the medicines are – BioXcel Therapeutics for immuno-oncology and neuroscience, BioXcel Therapeutics, BERG Health for mapping diseases to develop breakthrough medicines, Xtalpi for predicting the pharmaceutical properties of molecules for drug development, Atomwise for the treatment of most dangerous diseases like Ebola and multiple sclerosis, Deep Genomics for helping researchers for finding the right candidates to conduct clinical trials, BenevolentAI for providing right treatment at the right time.
In Healthcare Operations
In healthcare industry, time certainly matters. AI helps in the treatment of patients at the right time efficiently. The AI-assisted customer care service is already aimed at better patient experience, and at the same time, helps the hospital authority function with more efficiency.
Several companies have automated their tasks and operations with the assistance of AI already. AI is helping them to not only run their administration processes smoothly, manage patient data, but is also providing the patients an interactive care. These companies are – Olive, Qventus, Babylon Health, CloudMedX, Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In Data Mining & Management
There is a always a risk if information or data loss, especially in healthcare industry where huge data is generated and collected every day. The data loss can cause tremendous loss to the medical industry, and can slow down the drug development as well. The AI technology is adopted to resolve this issue as well, by rescuing the industry from drowning in the ocean of scattered data.
Companies like Tempus, have collected all the data to analyze and get the doctors a deep insight into the treatment required to cure. Other names in this category to implement AI are KenSci, Proscia, H20.AI, IBM AI Healthcare, Watson, DeepMind, and ICarbonx AI Healthcare.
In Surgical Procedures
The contribution of AI in surgical procedures has grown manifold in recent years. The surgeries, right from laproscopic to major heart ones are performed with the assistance of robots equipped with cameras, and surgical instruments. All the actions are monitored closely through a computer system. Even the most complex procedures are carried out with precision, which is hard to achieve just buy human capabilities.
The companies that develop AI-assisted robots to carry out surgical procedures are Vicarious Surgical, Auris Health, Accuray, Intuitive Healthcare, Carnegie Mellon University, MicroSure AI Healthcare, and Mazor Robotics.
In a mere few months, the entire world has got into a frenzy, fighting an invisible enemy. In such a scenario where the prime need of early detection and disease spread pattern is deeply realized, AI is expected to play a far better role in future. The recent Corona outbreak has already set a clear example, when the researchers and data experts took the aid of AI and used the Big Data in predicting about the spread.
AI is also playing a lead role in some of the hospitals and medical care centers, as the quickest means of COVID diagnosis by facial scan. Not only this, the technology is also helping the doctors in detecting the complications occurring in COVID patients.
Well, this is not just one threat being faced by the mankind. It is estimated that there are 650,000 to 840,000 unknown species of viruses lurking behind the bush, that can cause similar or even more deadly epidemics in future. Factors like population explosion, urbanization, destruction caused to plant and animal life and their natural habitat has caused the nature’s fury. Definitely the man needs to play the rewind button, bringing a halt to the sky-rocketing aspirations.
To prevent such epidemics further, the world needs to implement the zoonotic reconnaissance, implementing artificial intelligence for surveillance.
AI Unveils a Potential Drug to Treat COVID-19
London based BenevolentAI has identified a drug that may work on some of the most severe effects of Covid virus. The AI software has suggested that the arthritis drug may stop the immune response that damages or scars the lungs. The clinical trial for the drug is soon to begin in the US, with results expected by late June.
In healthcare industry, a huge data is managed in the form of hospital records, laboratory records, patient and medical examination records. This big data is analyzed to draw relevant information. The rise of data has led to the ever-increasing application of AI in not only diagnosis and treatment of diseases, but also in surveillance of any underlying nearing threat. With major AI applications in medical industry, in diagnosis, treatment, drug manufacturing and robotic surgeries, the Healthcare AI was speculated to reach $6.6 billion in value by 2021, and now with the recent COVID pandemic, even more.
Artificial Intelligence is sure to get a further boost in healthcare industry, especially in disease threat surveillance.