Artificial intelligence in health: 6 areas where it can help

The film “AI: Artificial Intelligence” was released in 2001. Today we can see more and more the influence of true artificial intelligence affecting our world, not in the shape of a robot boy capable of love, but as a technology with the ability to make decisions and perform tasks (maybe a little closer to Big Hero 6’s Baymax, but we’re not there yet).

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computing that plans to create programs capable of simulating human reasoning and learning. It is a part of technology that seeks to make machines capable of simulating us.

These machines could then be used for countless things, from computer games to replacing taxi or truck drivers.

You don’t have to go far to find autonomous vehicles being tested. Uber, Google and Tesla are some of the companies that have been working on this. Facebook, for example, uses artificial intelligence to show us the subjects we are interested in.

And health does not escape this influence. Artificial intelligence is increasingly present in it and, with its advances, it will soon be able to be everywhere. Doctors may never be completely replaced, but many of their tasks will and are already impacted by technology.

Several customer service services work through chatbots and you have probably already interacted with one. They are programmed to provide responses based on text or audio, and health can make use of them. Several of the items on this list can use them to arrive at your final result. Diagnostics, screening, prevention, among other areas.

Health chatbots use artificial intelligence so that, with a database that grows with interaction, they can indicate the next steps for the condition that is presented to be treated.

This is a list of some areas of health where AI can help considerably. Read on to learn more!



1. Preliminary diagnosis

Artificial intelligence is already present in diagnostics. For example, there are already AI programs designed to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common complications among people with diabetes . The condition can lead to blindness, but it can be treated when detected early.

With a photograph taken by the ophthalmic device, the IDx program  is able to find signs of the condition. If these signs are not present, the patient must be reassessed in 12 months. If so, he is referred for treatment.

The accuracy of the exam is 87%. Although it is not used as a definitive diagnosis, it serves to raise suspicions so that further investigations can be carried out. It is able to replace more expensive and less practical tests such as optical coherence tomography, fluorescein angiography and ultrasound.

It is also possible to detect skin cancer using a high-quality photo of a stain or mark.

Artificial intelligence can still identify diseases in imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans.

Soon it will be possible for machines to diagnose even more complex diseases.

2. Screening

Hospitals need health professionals to screen patients and decide which specialist to send each case to, whether there is an emergency or not, in addition to several other decisions.

These decisions could be aided by an artificial intelligence that, armed with the patient’s history and symptoms, would choose which area of ​​a hospital to send each person to, with which doctor to make an appointment or could call an emergency team.

Thus, the professionals who work in the screening could focus on treatments and care, while the machines would do the repetitive part of obtaining data, saving time and resources.

3. Treatment

Have you ever thought about having a surgery without a doctor? This is still a bit far from reality, but when you think of artificial intelligence in health, it is one of the first things that comes to mind.

Machines are able to hold a surgical instrument steady for much longer than a person. In long surgeries, a robot does not get tired. Currently, machines – controlled by doctors – are already used in operations because of these extremely important details.

An artificial intelligence program fed with the necessary knowledge may be able to perform surgery, with fewer errors than a human controlling the equipment.

AI help need not be so complex in treating a condition. For example, people with type 1 diabetes need to take frequent blood glucose measurements.

An artificial intelligence is able to store the data for each measurement and, based on this data, make suggestions for foods that may become necessary, or predict a crisis before it happens.

4. Prevention

SmartWatches already exist. Wristwatches with apps, like a smartphone. They are able to read your vital signs and do analyzes, for example. More than one life has already been saved thanks to them.

An app that alerts you when your heart rate is faster than normal or that monitors your blood pressure may be necessary to seek treatment before a serious illness brings problems.

James T. Green, an American producer, was saved from pulmonary embolism thanks to the warning from his smartwatch.

An artificial intelligence, combined with the technologies we already have, could analyze various data and indicate when a treatment may be necessary or find a disease even at the first signs.

5. Telemedicine

Telemedicine is medical practice done at a distance. Through the internet it is possible for a doctor to see patients more immediately, without having to travel to the place where the patient is.

The monitoring of a patient or the delivery of a report can be done in this way, as well as certain non-emergency nursing care.

Even in emergency cases, a distance nurse can take care of several patients at the same time, using cameras and computers, and make remote emergency calls for the medical team to go to the patient who needs care.

Artificial intelligence can be part of that connection. Through databases, when a nurse asks for a team, giving the necessary information such as which symptoms are present, the AI ​​can make the call of the doctor most appropriate and closest to the situation, thus increasing the chances of the patient.

6. Training

Artificial intelligence can be used to simulate patients while training a doctor. As complete as health education is, a professional needs the experience in his favor so that his diagnoses and treatments are the best possible.

Artificial intelligence could simulate, based on reality data, a patient’s behavior, symptoms, possible reactions and much more, giving the doctor a breakthrough in the experience part.

This would not be enough to replace real contact with patients, but it would represent a considerable improvement in medical education.

Health evolves as new technologies emerge and, like all areas of work, it will be strongly modified by artificial intelligence, which already influences it.

The consultation Remedies  is a good example of how technology can bring benefits to the population when it comes to health. After all, consulting package inserts and other information about medicines in a few clicks and anywhere is only possible thanks to this constant evolution.

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