5 Ways the Delivery of Healthcare Will Shift With the Rise of AI/Machine Learning

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to play an ever-expanding role in our daily lives.  A popular example for business owners:  many leaders use digital assistants on their smartphones which track and learn their habits so to assist them in monitoring and potentially changing their habituated behaviors based on usage patterns.  ChatGPT, Bard, and other AI systems are sowing the seeds to revolutionize entire industries.  The constant improvements in artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly reflected in various aspects of our lives; healthcare delivery is no exception.  

The Promises of AI/Machine Learning in the Healthcare Industry

Today, many large healthcare systems are making use of AI in some form or another, often in functions involving diagnostics, management, marketing, and communications.  Although many healthcare establishments use artificial intelligence, the full potential of the technology has not yet been achieved.

One of the key promises of AI/machine learning in healthcare is to improve workflows.  Artificial intelligence can augment the jobs of healthcare professionals and automate most repetitive tasks, saving time and resources.  AI can be used to optimize resource allocation, handle triage, and manage personnel scheduling.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies can also aid healthcare providers in their clinical work. For example, AI can make a differential diagnosis based on available data, which can then be vetted and verified by a medical professional.  This is more efficient than having the doctor go through all the data manually to extract a diagnosis.

Artificial intelligence is also useful when making predictions. Based on previous patterns in patient records or hospital workflows, AI can offer predictive clinical pathways that yield the most effective treatment methods for the patients and suggest how to streamline the workflow for care delivery.

5 Ways Healthcare Delivery will Change Using AI/Machine Learning

The above paragraphs share a general view of how healthcare provision will change with AI technology; here are just five (of countless many) specifics:

Reducing the Risks of Resistance to Antibiotics & Antivirals

Currently, many diseases have strains resistant to available drugs, HIV/AIDS being a prime example.  This issue is a primary concern among healthcare workers as the overuse of some drugs leads to the evolution of resistant strains that do not respond to available antibiotics/antivirals.  That is why medical professionals carefully monitor the use of antibiotics/antivirals to prevent a flare-up of resistant strains.

Data from electronic health records can be used to recognize infection patterns and identify patients at risk even before they start showing symptoms.  AI technology allows hospitals to utilize the potential of electronic health data to the fullest.

Improving Radiology Equipments

Images obtained from CT scanners, X-rays, and MRI machines allow radiologists to behold the human body’s inner workings.  However, many diagnostic procedures still require biological tissues from biopsies.  AI experts predict that artificial intelligence can improve the functional capacities of radiologic equipment so that the need for biopsies becomes minimized.

Improving Personalized Healthcare Through Smart Medical Devices

Many have seen the effectiveness of intelligent devices like smartwatches, which can monitor the wearer’s vitals.  They are also instrumental in emergencies where the appropriate agencies can be alerted.

In the hospital, patients can be monitored with smart devices that can identify deteriorations or sense complications that might be occurring insidiously without any readily observable manifestations of signs or symptoms.  Using artificial intelligence in this way can significantly improve healthcare delivery and reduce costs.

Improving Clinical Decision-Making

AI works well with patterns, which can be helpful in future medical decision-making and clinical workflows.  By providing predictive analytics and decision support tools, AI can aid healthcare providers in recognizing medical problems long before symptoms show.

Improving Immunotherapy as a Cancer Treatment

AI can algorithmically harness past patient data to predict how patients will respond to treatments.  With respect to cancer treatment, artificial intelligence can help assess how the body’s immune system will mount an attack and fight against cancer.  With aid from the gathered AI models, treatments can be tailored to individuals, thereby rendering the treatment plan more effective.

Conclusion

While artificial intelligence will inevitably influence how healthcare providers work, it’s unlikely that AI machines will be replacing healthcare workers.  As AI advances, it’s becoming better and better at recognizing patterns while handling massive amounts of data; this will impact the delivery of healthcare in unique and unsuspecting ways.  However, AI inherently lacks empathy, wisdom, creativity, and most patently, human bonding, which healthcare workers will continue to provide for the delivery of clinical care excellence and optimal patient satisfaction. 

In fact, somewhat paradoxically, it may well be the case that the drive toward ubiquity of AI adoption will actually place an even greater emphasis on the importance of bedside manner as a unique value proposition.  As more and more healthcare delivery organizations harness the power of AI, patients will learn to shy away from:  1.) those organizations that haven’t kept up with the times technologically, and 2.) those providers that haven’t developed a nurturing and relatable bedside manner.