Since the rise of modern medicine, the process of detecting diseases has seen a lot of changes. Nevertheless, it still remains to be a slow and time consuming job. At times taking weeks, even months to diagnose a case.
But this is all changing. A.I. is changing the way doctors treat their patients. And the results look very promising. These can be an invaluable tool for doctors all across the globe. At a very affordable price.
A FEW EXAMPLES
In 2018 Dr. Marco Topalovic(Ph.D.), from Catholic University of Leuven told interviews that, using A.I. on a good set of data, they have been able to detect pulmonary diseases more accurately and more efficiently than any of their residents. Even though, through this example, it looks that A.I. is here to replace doctors. They’re not. They are here to just speed up the diagnosis process. And to provide a reliable second opinion to the doctors.
According to research from Signify Research, hospitals all over the world are estimated to spend over $2 billion on A.I. by the year 2023.
And a lot of it is going towards A.I. medical imaging. A.I. medical imaging can be a very powerful tool for doctors. In this, a machine learning (a derivative of A.I.) algorithm is fed a lot of reliable and accurate medical data. Thus training it to recognize unusual cell formations and other anomalies. This can help doctors by reducing the time taken to detect these unusual forms, thus letting the doctor focus more on the treatment side of the process. This can also be helpful in detecting rare diseases without conducting an array of extensive and sometimes painful tests.
On June 12th of last year, the Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre at UI Health Care-Iowa River Landing in Coralville became the first to use an A.I. based medical imaging technology developed by IDx. This A.I. medical imaging system takes images of the retina to look for different abnormalities like hemorrhages, microaneurysms and many more that one might get from diabetes.
This type of technology is especially helpful for detection of diseases like cancer, where time can play a very important role. A prime example for this is the startup company Optellum. Last year, they were in the process of developing an A.I. system to analyse lumps of cells in the lungs, in order to determine whether they are cancerous or not.
Well, these were a few examples where A.I. is or potentially will be helping doctors in diagnostics. It’s not possible for me to list all of them in one blog. But, in order to paint a slightly bigger picture, here are a few ways in which A.I. is enhancing the medical field.
1)SAVING TIME AND MONEY
As stated earlier these A.I. systems can speed up the disease detection process. As a result, freeing up time for doctors to focus on the treatment side of the process. This can, in turn, save a lot of money by eliminating the need of multiple doctors to examine any result. Money, which can be used to hire more doctors, staff, newer and improved equipment and much more.
2)SAVING MORE LIVES
When dealing with life-threatening diseases like cancer or any chronic or even mental diseases, time can play a crucial factor. Faster the symptoms are recognized, more the chances of recovery. With tests sometimes taking a long time to be manually analyzed, A.I. is the perfect solution. By cutting down the time taken for diagnostics, diseases can be detected faster. Thus helping doctors make a better treatment plan.
With technology becoming more and more advanced, it’s also becoming cheaper. People are working hard to make these A.I. diagnostic systems more affordable. And with more and more money being pumped into this type of research, it’s bound to get a lot cheaper. So that, they can be accessed by more and more hospitals. Especially hospitals that aren’t too developed.
Almost all of the A.I. systems tested so far, have shown to be more accurate than the doctors in their respective fields. Like for example, the A.I. system called Ultromics, developed by researchers at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. It was trained to detect heart conditions. And according to the folks at the above-mentioned hospital upon testing, the system outmatched all of their human counterparts.
Companies like General Electric, which manufactures CT scanners are now using Intel’s A.I. features to allow scanning device process images faster and determine unhealthy traits. This software, after undergoing testing has shown an accuracy rate of a whopping 97%.
We must embrace technology, and reap its benefits. Sure, it can be scary to trust a machine with something like our health, but if we think about it, we put our lives in the hands of technology everyday when we step out of the house. It’s not a very foreign concept. Now, while A.I. has proven to be more efficient, a doctor can always see past any test data, to spot any minute symptoms of anomalies that can save someone’s life. Therefore, these A.I. systems are not here to replace doctors, they’re her to assist them.