12 Good Points About AI Healthcare

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Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare & Medicine

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the Season of Light, it was the Season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”  –Charles Dickens (1859)

I have seen many headlines proclaiming how AI is changing everything, but the fact is that everything never changes.  But what is overwhelmingly clear is that AI will change a great deal, and as a transformational technology, it is right up there with fire, the wheel. and the microprocessor.

AI is impacting so many aspects of life and work that it is difficult to find a category where it is not playing a rapidly increasing role.  It seems to me that healthcare would be near or at the top of the way AI will impact you and me the most.  It impacts our lives, our work, and the people we love.

Yet, AI is a great polarizer. People write on social media with great passion about AI as a force of good or evil. They see it as a great enabler and a powerful destructor.

If you ask me if it is good, evil, contractive, or destructive, I will have to answer with an ambiguous “both.” Wherever I look, I see pluses and minuses related to AI. Whatever I read about AI today seems to alter whatever I read about it yesterday: AI shows us so much potential, and yet there are so many causes for concern.

All of this becomes exponentially amplified when we center the conversation on healthcare, a topic that impacts each of us as well as all the people we love, and it seems to me that I am seeing more editorial reports on the benefits and hazards of it than any other AI category.

This ISTM will cover what I see as positive about AI and Healthcare. In summary, it is helping people deal with injuries and illnesses with unprecedented speed and success: That’s the good news and what I will cover in this issue. Next, I will deal with potential hazards and damages.

1.     Robotic Surgery.  Robots are being used increasingly worldwide in surgeries where precision is vital.  ChatGPT estimates that at least 100,000 were performed in 2023.  The de facto leader is Intuitive Surgical, whose da Vinci robotic systems serve as precise extensions of a surgeon’s hands.
The company website says its systems have been installed in 6,000 hospitals and have successfully performed over 12 million procedures without mishap.

2.    Earlier Predictions.  AI uses large datasets to predict diseases earlier.  For example, Epic Systems provides predictive analytic software to identify patients at risk of sepsis, a potentially fatal disease.  Google Health can predict patient outcomes and advise on whether patients can remain ambulatory or require hospitalization.

3.    Personalized Medications.  Practitioners already personalize prescribed drugs based on height, weight, age, and personal history. But now, AI is elevating personalization to new levels by calibrating dosages based on genomic and personal data, making them more precise, effective, and safer.

4.    Predictive Analytics.  AI can recognize patterns that even the most observant doctors would miss, thus personalizing  treatments, using patient data more precisely, which is most important in complex scenarios like chemotherapy or anticoagulant therapy.

5.    Drug Development.  AI is accelerating the development of new drugs and forms of therapy, increasing favorable results, and decreasing harmful side effects.

6.    Compliance Monitoring.  AI can monitor patients to ensure they take the right medications at the right time, and it can remind patients when they forget.

7.     Decision Support.  AI can keep constantly current, unlike patients and medical practitioners. It also helps practitioners to make decisions based on evidence rather than intuition.

8.    New & Repurposed Drugs.  AI is being used to predict new uses for existing medications and to design new ones.  Two examples are Atomwise, an AI biotech company that uses Deep Learning [MOU1] to predict how different molecules will interact, and Benevolent AI, an AI pharmaceutical company that uses AI to collaborate with other companies to develop and repurpose drugs, potentially lowering costs and reducing time-to-market.

9.    Simplification.  For diseases requiring multiple medications, such as diabetes, AI is designing medication schedules that minimize adverse side effects.

10. Improve Clinical Tests.  AI is redesigning clinical trials, identifying the most suitable participants, and monitoring outcomes more efficiently.

11.  Remote Monitoring. Some doctors have begun to prescribe or adjust medications remotely,  based on real-time patient data. According to a recent NBC report, conflicting medications cause over 100,000 deaths annually in the US.

12.  Detection.  AI algorithms analyze medical imaging faster and more accurately. Then was previously possible.  According to an article in Nature Journal, this process has improved breast cancer diagnosis accuracy by 15 percent, which is about 53,000 women per year.

It is worth noting that AI and healthcare is not some new and untried phenomenon.
It was first used for patient care in the 1960s and has evolved slowly over 60 years. But it has hit the exponential trigger point, where it is rapidly becoming ubiquitous, helping millions of patients get treatment and cures faster at a cost that is trending lower or so it would seem.

I wish this report ended here, where the news I am sharing is entirely positive, painting a picture for you of AI at its very best. That is not the entire story. There are more than a few issues that are of concern to industry observers—and well they should be.

I’ll tell you more about them in my next issue.

Shel Israel is a tech-business writer and occasional speaker. He’s the author of six critically-praised business books on transformational technology and has contributed to many business publications, including Forbes, FastCompany, and Business Insider. He now freelance ghostwrites business books, byline articles, and white papers. You can reach him at shel@shelisrael.com or message him on Linked-In or on Facebook.