3 Ways AI Stands To Impact Healthcare Behind The Scenes
If you’ve kept up with the adoption of artificial intelligence across various industries, you’ve likely noticed that its potential impact in healthcare is significant. We identified 10 common applications of AI in healthcare in a past blog post, including things like digital consultation, medication management, and precision medicine. As exciting as those examples are though, even they don’t speak to the full impact of artificial intelligence in this space. The truth is that one could write entire volumes addressing all of the existing and potential applications of AI in healthcare. Here, though, we’re going to focus on something more specific: a few of the ways AI impacts healthcare in a more behind-the-scenes manner.
Expanded Access To Healthcare
Expanding access to healthcare can call all sorts of different things to mind – most notably the continual debates held in political circles about insurance, government input, and the like. But in this case, we’re actually speaking in a broader sense about making modern healthcare practices more widely available throughout the world, via artificial intelligence.
As it was put in an article from mHealth Intelligence, health systems in developing countries often lack the resources to screen and diagnose cancer (https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/telehealth-program-connects-african-cancer-clinic-with-u.s.-specialists), for instance, which naturally leads to higher mortality rates (and this is just one example). While it has yet to be implemented on a massive scale, artificial intelligence has been brought up as a possible solution to this problem. Already, there are AI-powered mobile apps that can conduct imaging and recognize diseases, such that they can diagnose certain diseases every bit as effectively as real-world doctors. Clearly, this doesn’t entirely solve the problem; diagnostics are only part of the problem, and there’s also the matter of making the apps themselves available. Nevertheless, this example concept speaks to the potential for AI to bring modern healthcare to more people around the world, all through something as simple as an app that we wouldn’t ordinarily associate with AI.
Tool & Product Creation
There are actually a few different manufacturing technologies that are being used to create tools and products for hospitals and other healthcare-related entities. The degree to which they utilize artificial intelligence varies, but in different ways, they’re all accomplishing things that are beyond human manufacturing.
One key example, particularly when we’re discussing ways in which AI is operating behind the scenes, is injection molding. Described by Fictiv as being ideal for product validation and high-volume production parts alike</a>, rapid mold design and the related practice of product tooling provide different ways of manufacturing items to exact specifications. Specifically, the processes funnel heated materials into molds, where they then harden until they can be used as final products. This is all done according to digital designs, resulting in precise and replicable pieces that medical facilities put to use in all kinds of interesting ways. Where product validation is concerned, injection molding can be used to test out something like a new brace for injuries; regarding high-volume production, it can provide a hospital with a whole stockpile of new containers for medicines. These are just a few of many examples, but speak to how this AI-driven tech can influence a whole industry in ways most of us would never consider.
Last but perhaps most significant of all is AI’s potential to improve the entire field of diagnostics. Last year, Harvard Business Review published a piece about AI’s potential to find out what causes diseases, in which it was stated that algorithms are being used to predict illnesses such as cancer+ and others. Now, this is not being done through a single app or program. Rather, it can be accomplished through a connected network of digital diagnostic tools that will essentially paint a bigger and more detailed picture of an individual’s health than what we’re used to. Nevertheless, the potential is staggering.
While this may sound like a massive breakthrough that would earn a great deal of publicity, though, it really represents yet another behind-the-scenes application of AI technology. In all likelihood, there will be little functional change for patients as capabilities like these are introduced. We’ll undergo the same tests, subject ourselves to general health monitoring, and go about our lives. But the systems handling our medical data and monitoring our bodies will be able to tell, through advanced algorithms, what illnesses we may be most vulnerable to.
Through these and other means, artificial intelligence stands to have an even larger impact on healthcare industries than we tend to realize. And it’s likely just getting started.