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As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to emerge as a prevailing form of technology, its impact has been felt in a variety of industries worldwide. The healthcare world is no different, as AI is currently being used to revolutionize and redesign many aspects of the modern healthcare landscape. Thanks to the “rapid commercialization of machine learning and big data,”¹ utilization of AI has only grown as a streamlining technique for many healthcare companies.

Here are a few ways in which AI is being used to reshape healthcare as we know it.

 

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Diagnosis

Though it is still a fledgling concept within AI’s broad array of uses, some companies are exploring ways in which AI can be used to improve doctor-patient interaction, ultimately leading to a more efficient diagnosis process. One UK-based company, Babylon Health, hopes to achieve this reality by means of an AI chatbot that would be accessible via smartphone. The chatbot method would strive to simplify symptom explanation for both patients and doctors, making subsequent intervention and prescription approaches easier while keeping the process quick.

Furthermore, AI has allowed the diagnosis process to become more efficient by eliminating the crucial variable of human flaw. For example, the Shanghai Changzheng Hospital in China has used AI to read and analyze CT scans and X-rays to pinpoint and identify suspicious lesions and nodules in lung cancer patients. This process is intended to be an asset to reducing China’s high lung cancer rates.

 

 

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Drug discovery

AI technology has also seen use in the pharmaceutical industry, namely in the form of autonomous drug design. One recent example of this approach comes from a $42 million deal, between GlaxoSmithKline and U.K.-based firm Exscientia, using the latter’s highly intuitive A.I. platform to discover drugs targeting up to 10 diseases (each of which coming with healthy milestone payments from GSK) aiming at “several therapeutic areas”².

This example, however, is merely one in a long list. Baltimore-based AI company Insilico Medicine, for instance has also been focusing its technology on drug discovery (in addition to biomarker development and aging research), applying a deep learning approach to drug personalization to focus on cures for detrimental diseases like ALS.

 

 

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The future model

Finally, AI’s growing potential is being applied to some of healthcare’s most enduring questions and issues: “how can startups make money in this emerging field? How can healthcare companies use AI to ‘bend the curve’ of increasing healthcare costs? And, ultimately, how can they get buy-in from government regulators, insurers, doctors, and patients?”

These types of questions and concerns have led to slight ambiguity as to how AI will impact the current healthcare business model. The changes are coming, and coming fast — the question is how will they be handled? Regardless of the answer, AI sophistication may prove to be the avenue the healthcare industry needs, as annual spending in the United States alone currently amounts to over USD$3.2 trillion.

 

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[1] Kite-Powell, Jennifer. “See How Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Medical Diagnosis

                  And Healthcare,” 16 May 2017, https://goo.gl/zovCzW. Accessed 18 July 2017.

[2] Al Idrus, Amirah. “GlaxoSmithKline, Exscientia ink AI-based drug discovery deal worth

                  up to $42M,” 5 July 2017, https://goo.gl/T4uHTF. Accessed 18 July 2017.