On July 21st, 2020, researchers achieved a transformative breakthrough in AI. Using light instead of electricity to power machine learning neural networks will speed up machine learning abilities and significantly reduce power usage.
Even before this breakthrough, the progress of AI in healthcare was impressive. AI's applications in healthcare include everything from blood tests that can detect cancer years before symptoms present to bionic limbs controlled by the brain. Let's take a look at how artificial intelligence in medical devices is making the world safer and healthier — one algorithm at a time.
Applications of AI in healthcare
Disease prevention, detection, and treatment
Some of the most cutting-edge AI tech can detect disease years before symptoms ever appear. Revolutionary blood tests analyzed by machine learning algorithms can flag signs of cancer up to 4 years before a patient gets sick.
China's National Natural Science Foundation has also developed a faster, more accurate method of detected lymph nodes in cancer patients. The AI-powered solution detected and segmented lymph nodes in just over 1 second — well over 100 times faster than human doctors.
Because AI can detect cancer much more accurately than humans, it can help create a more effective treatment plan for patients and reduce the disease's spread by up to 14%.
Another compelling use for artificial intelligence in healthcare is the discovery and design of new materials and medications. AI can also choose the best candidates for experimental medications. We've already got robotic lab assistants working hard on this. One robotic chemist who learns from and improves on its work experimented for 172 hours out of 192. The output? 500 experiments a week, with a significant improvement in results by the end of it.
AI inventions like bionic prosthetics and augmented reality glasses will vastly improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. While the technology is already available, clinical trials exploring how to make them more affordable and accessible are ongoing.
These developments are promising and heartwarming. However, transparency has recently become a concern regarding AI's use in healthcare. A hospital in Minnesota using AI to help create discharge plans withheld that information from their patients. This technology allegedly predicts how likely a patient is to develop complications post-discharge. Although AI can help save lives and reduce human errors, patients have the right to know if AI is part of their treatment plan.
Telehealth and live chat for healthcare
In 2016, the Health Chief of the US Army predicted telehealth would be the norm — and it didn't take long for that prediction to become reality. The coronavirus pandemic upended our current diagnostic systems.
In a socially distanced world, telehealth solutions are essential. Healthcare collective Kaiser Permeante transitioned 40% of in-person appointments to remote in mid-July 2020. And hospitals all around the world integrated telehealth solutions into their practice.
AI-powered video chat solutions can even monitor vital signs and stress levels. Using plethysmography, a type of technology that analyzes the coloration of the face, the Binah.ai app can detect a user's heart rate and oxygenation levels within seconds.
Plethysmography is a form of affective computing, which uses technology to determine a person's emotional state and how it affects their physical health.
Another form of telehealth is somewhat less urgent: live chat for doctors. There's a reason why "live chat with doctor free" is such a popular search query. Medical live chat breaks barriers to healthcare. It also gives patients discretion to discuss their sensitive health concerns.
Finally, it automates routine tasks like appointment scheduling, answering frequently asked questions, and providing basic information about opening hours and services.
In a time when telehealth is a ncecessity, ZyraTalk is proud to be a HIPAA compliant webchat platform for doctors. Our sensitive data logs protect your patients' private information. We also provide HIPAA authorized accounts, giving you ultimate control over which team members can access it.
Applications of AI in healthcare: wrapping up
Hear the phrase "artificial intelligence" and your mind likely pictures AI's applications in healthcare. Every day, researchers are discovering new ways to optimize machine learning algorithms to improve quality of life for everyone.
While AI is already revolutionizing the way we prevent, diagnose, and treat disease, transparency is essential. Patients have a right to know whether AI is participating in the creation of their healthcare plans.
Now that researchers have optimized machine learning neural networks to run on light instead of electricity, it will be interesting to see how this improvement transforms healthcare even further.