These days, whether we realize it or not, we see artificial intelligence everywhere that we look. AI capabilities can be found in smart home systems, in our cars – even in appliances such as fridges and toasters. Artificial intelligence is helping to improve just about every facet of our lives, and healthcare is no different. The AI healthcare market is projected to hit an impressive $6.6 billion by 2021. The future holds promise of even greater breakthroughs that have the potential to create a healthier nation.
Just What is Artificial Intelligence?
The term artificial intelligence gets thrown around a lot in the media, but what exactly does it mean? The term generally encompasses any technology that can perform a task as well as (or better than) a human. This is a bit of an oversimplification, though, since there are many different types of AI technologies that we use today. You might see software offering simple analysis tools, or complex deep learning programs.
How is AI Being Used in Healthcare?
In the healthcare industry, much of the AI technology being used involves algorithms that analyze a patient’s healthcare data. These may be used by a doctor to make a diagnosis, or help patients to track their vitals in an app. You can also find AI technology such as Siri or Alexa that acts as a personal assistant, recording data and pulling up important information on command. In some Japanese hospitals, prototype care robots are even being used to care for patients.
One area where AI tech is having a major impact is in the senior care sector. As baby boomers everywhere hit retirement age, the demand for at-home care services is on the rise. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are at an all-time high, with many older adults experiencing two or more persistent issues at the same time. This increasing burden on the healthcare industry is forcing both doctors and patients to look into how AI can help seniors to manage chronic conditions using technology such as smart watches, health monitors, personal assistants, and more. These devices can act as a prompt to take regular exercise, or provide a reminder to take medication at specific times of the day. They can also display vital stats about blood pressure and heart rate for example.
Artificial intelligence in the home is not only helping seniors to improve their quality of life as they age but also reduces the need for a full-time caregiver. Modern technology is slowly replacing many of the more menial functions of caregivers, allowing them to offer a better quality of care and helping to prevent burnout. AI also helps to reduce strain on overworked nurses and doctors in professional healthcare settings.
What Does the Future Hold for AI in the Health Industry?
Artificial intelligence technology is only projected to keep improving, especially in healthcare applications. We can expect to see more and more technology incorporated into our doctor’s visits, helping GPs to provide personalized care for both young and aging patients. In the near future, you may even get to see care robots assisting patients in hospitals.
In recent years AI has helped the healthcare industry to make huge strides forwards. Smart technologies are helping doctors and patients alike to get a better overall picture of their health needs. As AI continues to improve, we can expect to see further exciting advancements in the field of healthcare.