Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: How AI Technology Can Improve Healthcare

AI healthcare example
AI in healthcare is the future of medicine. Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Most people imagine robots and the like when imagining artificial intelligence (AI), but many different types of AI exist. Rather than referring to robots, AI in medicine refers to doctors and hospitals having access to vast amounts of data and information needed to save lives. AI in healthcare helps doctors process treatment options and calculate potential outcomes, survival rates, and recovery periods. The information comes from millions of patients across the nation – if not the world – and an immeasurable number of related health conditions. Machine learning in healthcare uses the latest computer technology to analyze trends in data and make predictions to identify the best possible solution. This is why medicine can benefit so much from artificial intelligence. 


What is Machine Learning in Healthcare?

Machine learning involves statistical techniques that give computers the ability to “learn” by identifying incoming data patterns and using that information to make decisions. 


Doctors can use these analytics to assess risk for patients, make informed diagnoses, and offer more effective treatment methods. Experts believe that machine learning in healthcare could have a “staggering” impact – for the better. 


One challenge doctors face right now is that each individual has thousands of data points, if not millions. So, if you have a data set where hundreds of thousands of people have a million data points each, you need a computer to process it all. No human could manage all that. 


One example of AI in medicine in action is a study that showed when people with ovarian cancer are given beta-blockers, a blood pressure medication; they live for up to four years longer. Researchers have to perform trials to assess this result, but we might not have even noticed the pattern in the first place without AI. 


Examples of AI In Healthcare

Here are some examples of how AI is already helping with healthcare; 

  • Robotic Reflections 

A study from the University of Bristol showed that autistic children have more difficulty recognizing facial expressions. Dell Technologies launched a 2-foot-tall robot called Milo to use visual expressions to teach autistic children how to identify different emotions. Milo is now used in educational institutes across 27 states. 

  • Helping ALS Patients 

Eye-tracking glasses use AI technology to allow those who can no longer speak or move to communicate with others. Patients use their eyes to “type” messages into a monitor that vocalizes the words using computerized decoding. Patients can also use these systems to send emails, read books, and stay connected with others. 


Certain kinds of cardiac arrhythmias, in particular atrial fibrillation, make it more likely for someone to suffer a stroke or heart attack. Research from Stanford University shows how AI can help identify these arrhythmias, so people get the help and treatment they need. 


What Does the Future Hold?

New AI innovations are happening all the time. One example of what the future holds regards MRI machines. MRI machines offer an in-depth look inside the human body. AI is being developed to help remove the need for futher tissue samples to enable virtual biopsies of tumors for more accurate and non-invasive cancer detection and treatment. 

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