Posted on Jun 08, 2016, 6 a.m.
Artificial intelligence is advancing rapidly and is in the process of transforming the face of healthcare.
Artificial intelligence is a rapidly evolving process on the verge of revising many industries, including healthcare. According to a report by Frost & Sullivan the AI market in healthcare will hit $6 billion by 2021, having been at $600 million, just two years ago. Cognitive solutions such as IBM’s Watson system can assess enormous amounts of patient data, provide guidance and decision support, and improve clinical workflow. “The goal is to support the physician, not replace him or her” said Anil Jain, vice president of IBM’s Watson Health and an internist and medical informatics specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. The IBM “Redefining Boundaries” study divulges that healthcare executives believe that this technology will require them to reassess most aspects of the business in the next few years. Here are some of the ways that AI is being used to affect practice management and care services:
Diagnosis and Treatment - Watson’s AI employs cognitive computing to sort through all the latest medical information and find patterns that are relevant for individual patients. This enables stronger diagnoses and more effective treatment plans. An example of this is Watson Oncology, which sorts through thousands of cases and articles, helping the physician to decide the most effective treatment for a specific type of tumor. AkēLex has created an adaptive learning tool that provides guidance based on a patient’s individual profile. “It’s almost like having a specialist watching over a frontline nurse who is treating a patient,” said Venkat Rajan, global director of the Visionary Health Program at Frost & Sullivan.
Disease Management - A tool called Cognitive Cloud has been developed to provide actionable insights for those suffering from chronic conditions. These insights are used by physicians to more accurately understand their patients’ needs. This system is being utilized by Intermountain Healthcare, in a pilot program aimed at helping teenagers with Type 1 diabetes transition to self-care as they grow into adulthood. The startup has also recently teamed with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, on an initiative to use cognitive computing to expedite healthcare decision making, improve the patient experience, and increase staff productivity.
Watson is also being employed, to examine disease pathways and to determine why some patients may respond more positively to specific types of treatment than others. To accomplish this, Watson considers the patient’s personality, along with variable data such as demographics and socioeconomic status, to assist with predicting how patients will respond to different treatment options.
Clinical Trials - One of the biggest challenges for physicians, is locating an appropriate clinical trial for a patient who has exhausted all treatment options. Watson scans through thousands of clinical trial protocols, determining whether a particular patient may qualify for a specific clinical trial, communicating this information back to the physician.
AkēLex’s AKE stores unbiased clinical data, enabling it to be searched by patient populations, individuals, diseases, conditions, procedures, medications and more. This enables physicians to have immediate access to data at numerous levels, depending on the issue they’re attempting to solve for the patient.
Wellness - Welltok’s Caféwell Concierge utilizes Watson’s cognitive capabilities to provide personalized health solutions for everyday users. Watson’s natural language processing capabilities are utilized to assess the user’s activity goals, then prompting them to achieve them. Watson is also partnering with Johnson & Johnson to employ AI to assist joint replacement patients in more effectively managing their health. It is partnering with Medtronic as well, with plans to be able to determine which diabetes patients need assistance in keeping their blood sugar under control.
Reimbursement - Hindsait has developed a software-as-a-service platform, enabling payers and accountable care organizations to identify potentially unnecessary services during the review process and improve quality of care. It has been used by Magellan Health since last year, improving their utilization management system by bolstering clinical quality and outcomes. It has also increased the consistency and productivity of care reviewers. Hosting is on the HIPAA-compliant, highly secured Google Cloud platform. Cloud-based healthcare is affordable for most providers, enabling even smaller medical practices to reap it's benefits.