The potential for artificial intelligence in healthcare

Artificial intelligence in healthcare is the use of machine-learning algorithms and software to analyze, process and present complex medical and health care data. It has been widely used to support clinical decisions, improve workflows and predict health outcomes. Thus, wide application of AI in the healthcare sector is likely to propel the growth of the market. The growth of the artificial intelligence in healthcare market is attributed to the rising application of artificial intelligence in healthcare, growing investment in AI healthcare start-ups, and increasing cross-industry partnerships and collaborations. However, dearth of skilled AI workforce and imprecise regulatory guidelines for medical software is the major factor hindering the market growth.

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The future of AI in healthcare

We believe that AI has an important role to play in the healthcare offerings of the future. In the form of machine learning, it is the primary capability behind the development of precision medicine, widely agreed to be a sorely needed advance in care. Although early efforts at providing diagnosis and treatment recommendations have proven challenging, we expect that AI will ultimately master that domain as well. Given the rapid advances in AI for imaging analysis, it seems likely that most radiology and pathology images will be examined at some point by a machine. Speech and text recognition are already employed for tasks like patient communication and capture of clinical notes, and their usage will increase.

The greatest challenge to AI in these healthcare domains is not whether the technologies will be capable enough to be useful, but rather ensuring their adoption in daily clinical practice. For widespread adoption to take place, AI systems must be approved by regulators, integrated with EHR systems, standardised to a sufficient degree that similar products work in a similar fashion, taught to clinicians, paid for by public or private payer organisations and updated over time in the field. These challenges will ultimately be overcome, but they will take much longer to do so than it will take for the technologies themselves to mature. As a result, we expect to see limited use of AI in clinical practice within 5 years and more extensive use within 10.

It also seems increasingly clear that AI systems will not replace human clinicians on a large scale, but rather will augment their efforts to care for patients. Over time, human clinicians may move toward tasks and job designs that draw on uniquely human skills like empathy, persuasion and big-picture integration. Perhaps the only healthcare providers who will lose their jobs over time may be those who refuse to work alongside artificial intelligence.

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