AI adoption in Healthcare: 10 Pros and Cons

20 Nov 2019

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already revolutionized numerous industries, including healthcare. It is gaining pace and we can witness many innovations that seemed to be impossible a few years ago. Every tech vendor and science company involved in medical research or clinical trials strives to create reliable predictive and prescriptive instruments for both diagnosing and treatment.

The technology research company Gartner assumes that 75% of healthcare organizations will have invested in their AI potential by 2021 to improve the overall performance. The advantages of AI-driven medical tools are invaluable and beneficial for doctors, and patients, and are applicable in different healthcare areas. 

 

Pros of utilizing AI for healthcare

 

AI fosters healthcare accessibility

Unfortunately, many developing countries are still lagging behind the world’s technological progress in many spheres and healthcare for them remains the most painful one. People living in the remotest corners face the risk of dying since it is practically impossible to get qualified medical help in time. WHO claims that uneven access to the health services results in an 18.1-year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest countries.

AI innovations can be applied here to create an efficient healthcare ecosystem. Such digital infrastructure can help the patients to comprehend the symptoms and receive necessary treatment. Many applications have been developed recently to enhance the collaboration between national and international healthcare organizations to provide quick assistance to people. Thus, for instance, Ada App, based on intelligent technology, is available in 140 countries that increase accessibility to medical guidance for the poor population.

 

AI-driven tools help reveal early disease risks

Since AI can accumulate and keep people’s data in a single place, it can utilize this information to see into the previous and current health problems. Such a comparison of disease details enables the physicians to make a more accurate diagnosis. The database of health apps has compiled millions of symptoms, diagnosis and particular cases that allow for predicting potential health problems a person can have in the future. 

A well-known application Verily developed by Google specializes in forecasting both noncontagious and hereditary genetic diseases. Such apps enable health experts to anticipate potential threats and avoid them in the future, taking appropriate measures today. Moreover, predictive analytics improves the operational management of healthcare facilities. 

 

AI algorithms can save time and costs

Another big advantage of AI application in the healthcare system is related to shortening the time and easing the efforts needed for examining and diagnosing the patients. As a testimony for this, one can consider the potential of AI to identify the biomarkers that can detect certain illnesses in the human body. The algorithms ensure the possibility of automating the bigger part of the manual work in specifying these biomarkers. This way they save time that can cost a person life. 

On the other hand, AI algorithms are more cost-efficient than conventional methods. With these technologies applied in the health system, people do not have to go through various expensive lab tests. These facts account for an 88% increase in a number of organizations that have implemented an AI strategy if compared with the previous year.

 

AI as unique and unrivalled assistance in surgery

Successful testing and research have been fueling the interest in AI and robotics applications in surgery. AI Surgical System allows for performing the tiniest and the most accurate movements. Thus, complex operations are conducted with minimal pain, blood loss, and low risks of side effects. Furthermore, after such surgical procedures patients recover much quicker.

The implementation of Antibacterial Nanorobots helps clear the patient’s blood from infections before or after being operated. To the top of it, AI empowers surgeons with real-time information concerning the patient’s current condition. Such AI tools inspire trust in patients when they still have some doubts about surgery under general anesthesia. On the whole, technological advancements in surgical robots are predicted to expand the value of this market up to $24 bn by 2025

 

AI helps augment human abilities and support mental health

Patients can be assisted not only by medical staff but also by robots. Paralyzed people can walk again and do not depend on caretakers thanks to exoskeleton robots. Another breakthrough in AI application in the healthcare system is a smart prosthesis that is equipped with sensors enabling the patients to have even more reactive limbs than the original ones. 

The rising need for smart limbs is caused by the number of amputees in the U.S. that is expected to reach 3.6 million by 2050 according to the nonprofit Amputee Coalition. Of great help are service robots that are capable of performing daily tasks, so elderly or sick patients do not feel lonely. The so-called conversational and companion robots provide such people with assistance in controlling temperature, blood pressure, sugar levels, as well as taking pills. Such robots often come with built-in capabilities to analyze the personality that helps depressed patients feel more positive.

Cons of AI adoption

Except for the above-mentioned benefits of AI application in the healthcare sector ,the recent survey raises awareness among health experts and managers concerning particular disadvantages of utilizing these technologies. 

 

A lack of personal involvement

Surgery robots are completely logical and are not programmed to feel any sympathy towards the patients. Some experts view it as a disadvantage. On the contrary, human capabilities in terms of personal contact with the sick go beyond those of computers. Interactions between a doctor and a patient are of great importance in building trust and treatment. Of course, AI instruments can function with minor errors that will not affect the diagnosing process or operation considerably. Unlike computers, physicians can violate some rules to do their utmost to save a person’s life.

 

A rise in unemployment rates among healthcare workers

Since AI has been implemented throughout the whole system of healthcare on a grander scale, many activities that were traditionally performed by humans can be done by machines nowadays. Chatbots and robots can provide mental health help, analyze the condition of patient’s health, and foresee some problems like seizures, sepsis, cardiac arrest, etc. Consequently, many people can lose their work.

 

Possibility of a Defective Diagnosis

The accurate diagnosis for a certain disease depends on various data collected from millions of people who have experienced similar symptoms and conditions. To get the appropriate comparison, the AI database should contain sufficient information about the patients of the particular group. Therefore, if there is a lack of information about a person from a certain background, AI can provide an inaccurate diagnosis. As a result, the doctors are likely to give the wrong treatment if they are not experienced enough to identify the mistake. Errors caused by poorly trained AI instruments account almost for 200,000 patient deaths each year and the US health system’s annual loss of about $20 bn.

 

Social Prejudices

As we have already mentioned, AI-based machines cannot fully understand human nature and the background that makes them biased against the patients being diagnosed. For instance, the AI algorithm can recommend a person with low income a nursing facility that is unaffordable for them. The high cost of services at such facilities discourages the patient to continue the treatment. It is the doctor, who can decide on the best suitable treatment plan taking into account the patient’s social and financial status.

Summary

All in all, despite some challenges and risks, AI and robotics nave enormous benefits that are changing every aspect of the healthcare ecosystem worldwide. AI-driven tools and the Internet of Medical Things have already affected the lives of millions of individuals encouraging them to follow a healthy lifestyle and adjust to proactive health management. 

Here at ByteAnt who have already succeeded in developing custom web applications for Distinctive Speech Clinic. So, if you would like to get a specific software business app tailored to the particular needs of your healthcare organization, you can address our team of professionals. Feel free to contact us anytime you need expert help. 

Whether you are creating a cloud-based or a hybrid solution, we have the technical expertise you need.
About the Author
Valeriy Ilchenko
CEO at ByteAnt
Valeriy is CEO of ByteAnt with over 15 years of experience in software development always focusing and embracing new technologies IoT and SaaS. Besides leading the ByteAnt, Valeriy is a public speaker on tech talks, events, and meetups; mentor and marathon runner.
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