|Artificial intelligence is the future of|
health care, and the future is here.
by Beth Pedersen
Health care data is expected to reach a staggering 2,300 exabytes (one exabyte is equal to one billion gigabytes) in 2020. We all know knowledge is power, but the amount and complexity of data in existence has long since outpaced the human mind’s ability to access and process it. Enter artificial intelligence (AI). Since its inception over half a century ago, AI has experienced an ebb and flow of attention, investment, development and scrutiny but one idea persists: the promise of making human lives significantly better.
Proponents have long touted AI’s limitless capabilities; critics and the popular media often point to worst-case scenarios where, when left unchecked, the machine intelligence created by human beings not only marginalizes us, but actually leads to our demise. Regardless of these conflicting views and the relative uncertainty of where AI will lead in the future, the technology is already all around us. Increasingly common in business operations and even in daily life (think smart personal assistants like Siri, all those assist features in your car, and the news that shows up in your social media feeds), it doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit. Among the many “next frontiers” of AI, health care stands to undergo the most significant transformation, taking intelligent systems beyond making our lives easier, to actually saving them.
This article is related to the
E-Book: Convergence of Compliance and Technology
A Brave New World of Health Care
1. Cognitive Health Care
2. Drug Development
3. Digital Imaging
4. Diagnosis and Treatment
5. Detection and Prevention
Also, smartphone apps armed with machine learning, natural language processing and facial recognition can help patients with long-term treatment of chronic illnesses by monitoring medication intake and inquiring about symptoms. Chatbots can even diagnose illnesses using medical data models that link the probabilities between symptoms and conditions based on variables like age, gender, location and time of year. By interacting directly with users to gather information, and drawing from vast libraries of medical information, these systems can provide informal diagnoses, suggest treatments and connect users with specialists, all in a matter of seconds.
The aim of these wearable devices, digital health coaches and medical chatbots is to keep people healthier and help them to better determine when professional medical attention is needed. With that said, none of these AI-powered advances intend to replace doctors or physical clinics, but rather serve both patients and practitioners in the treatment of ailments, whether minor or serious.
New Technology, New Regulations
Furthermore, the recently signed 21st Century Cures Act represents a major step forward in supporting medical innovation, including that which involves AI. The groundbreaking law, signed by President Obama on Dec. 13, allows the FDA to streamline its regulatory process to enable faster discovery, approval and availability of innovative medical products. Among other things, the law introduces measures for better management of electronic health records, an area in which AI shows unprecedented potential. Legislation like the 21st Century Cures Act will help the FDA gain greater clarity about the extent of its role in regulating AI-related medical advances, and pave the way for more targeted AI regulations.
AI in Quality
In what ways do you think AI will change the future of quality? Please share your thoughts below!