AI in Healthcare: The Promise and Pitfalls

Kritika Goyal

Kritika Goyal

Business Development

Aloha from AI!! Wait, let me first tell you what Aloha is, “It is the word used to say both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in Hawaiian, but it means much more than just a simple salutation — aloha is a way of life.” Similarly, AI is saying “HELLO” to each and every industry out there in the world and welcoming them with open arms and saying, let’s together make this world a better place to live.

In AI, ChatGPT is a hot trend. From content creation to software development, it has revolutionized every industry. Indeed, AI can seem complex and difficult to understand at times, but its potential to revolutionize industries cannot be ignored. Similarly Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making its way into the healthcare industry over the past few years, with the potential to revolutionize patient care. As the healthcare sector is complex, highly regulated, and deals with sensitive patient data, it has been difficult to adapt this new technology. As a result, AI has been slow to take off in the healthcare sector. However, given the potential advantages of AI, it has become harder to dismiss it. As a result, researchers and healthcare professionals are becoming more interested in AI-based treatments.

Now let's dive into how AI became an integral part of healthcare overtime.

how AI became an integral part of healthcare overtime

Let's start with exploring the impacts of AI in healthcare:

There are many potential benefits of AI in healthcare, including improved diagnostic accuracy, more personalized treatment plans, and greater efficiency in healthcare delivery. Here are some real-life examples of how AI is being used to improve healthcare:

  1. Medical imaging analysis: AI algorithms can analyze medical images such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans, providing more accurate and faster diagnoses.
    For example:
    A) Stanford University researchers developed an AI algorithm that can diagnose pneumonia from chest X-rays with greater accuracy than human radiologists.
    B) AI algorithms have been used to detect breast cancer on mammograms with higher accuracy than human radiologists.
  2. Personalized medicine: AI can analyze patient data such as genetic information, medical history, and lifestyle factors to create personalized treatment plans.
    For example:
    A) IBM Watson for Oncology uses AI to analyze patient data and suggest personalized treatment plans for cancer patients.
    B) AI algorithms have been used to predict which patients are at high risk for heart disease and to develop personalized prevention plans.
  3. Drug discovery: AI can analyze large datasets to identify potential drug targets and to design more effective drugs.
    For example:
    A) Insilico Medicine used an AI algorithm to identify a new drug candidate for fibrosis in just 46 days, compared to the typical timeline of several years.
    B) AI algorithms have been used to identify new drug candidates for diseases such as Ebola and Alzheimer's.
  4. Patient monitoring: AI can monitor patient data such as vital signs and medication adherence, alerting healthcare providers to potential problems before they become serious.
    For example:
    A) The University of California San Francisco developed an AI algorithm that can predict acute kidney injury up to 48 hours before it occurs.
    B)AI-powered wearable devices have been used to monitor patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
  5. Robotic surgery: Surgical robots can perform complex procedures with greater precision and less risk of complications.
    For example:
    A) The da Vinci surgical system is used to perform minimally invasive surgeries for conditions such as prostate cancer and gynecological disorders.

These are just a few examples of the many ways in which AI is being used to improve healthcare. As AI technology continues to evolve and mature, it is likely that we will see even more innovative applications in the years to come.

But to leverage AI in healthcare effectively, it's important to start with a clear understanding of the problem to be solved and the available data. AI algorithms must be developed and tested rigorously to ensure that they are accurate, reliable, and ethically sound. Additionally, human oversight and input are crucial to ensure that AI is used safely and effectively in healthcare settings.

So these were a few examples and there are many more.

Now let's dive into how these models work on broader aspect:

The technical entry of AI in healthcare involves several key components, including:

  1. Data acquisition: It's important to collect and organize large amounts of data, including electronic health records, medical images, genomic data, and more.
  2. Data preparation: Once the data is collected, it needs to be prepared for use by AI algorithms. This may involve tasks such as data cleaning, normalization, and feature engineering.
  3. Algorithm development: AI algorithms, such as machine learning models, are developed to analyze the data and identify patterns or make predictions. This involves selecting appropriate algorithms, tuning hyperparameters, and training the models on the data.
  4. Validation and testing: AI algorithms need to be rigorously validated and tested to ensure that they are accurate, reliable, and ethically sound. This may involve cross-validation, independent testing, and benchmarking against established standards.
  5. Deployment: Once the AI algorithms are developed and validated, they can be deployed in healthcare settings. This may involve integrating them into existing healthcare systems, training healthcare providers to use them, and monitoring their performance over time.
  6. Continuous improvement: AI algorithms in healthcare need to be continuously monitored and improved to ensure that they remain accurate and effective. This may involve retraining models on new data, updating algorithms to reflect new findings or standards, and incorporating feedback from healthcare providers and patients.
So if you guys noticed that the first step is data collection, we all know that the data in healthcare is not collected in a standard format and most of the time the data is useless. So now, if the base is not solid, how can you construct a building over it? Right!! So rather than jumping directly to the AI, we should also focus on standardizing the data. AI models have to be fed with data so that they can run seamlessly: And thankfully we at Medblocks are trying to do the same.

So if you are also trying to make your app AI-enabled and don't have the data in the standard format, don't worry we are here to help. Contact Us to understand our suite of products that would be a fit for your business.

While AI has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, there are also several pitfalls and challenges that need to be addressed.

Here are some examples of pitfalls of AI in healthcare with real-life examples:

  1. Bias and discrimination: AI algorithms can perpetuate biases and discriminate against certain groups of patients, based on factors such as race, gender, or socioeconomic status. For example, a study found that an AI algorithm used to prioritize patients for extra care at a hospital in Florida was less likely to recommend Black patients for the program, even when they had the same level of need as white patients.
  2. Lack of transparency: AI algorithms can be complex and difficult to interpret, making it difficult to understand how they arrive at their decisions. This lack of transparency can make it difficult to trust the results and can lead to errors or misinterpretations. For example, an AI-powered mammography tool was found to produce higher false positive rates for women under 50, leading to unnecessary biopsies and surgeries.
  3. Limited generalizability: AI algorithms may not generalize well to new patient populations or healthcare settings, leading to reduced effectiveness or even harm. For example, an AI algorithm designed to predict sepsis risk in one hospital was found to perform poorly when applied to data from another hospital.
  4. Ethical concerns: AI algorithms can raise ethical concerns around issues such as privacy, informed consent, and human agency. For example, an AI-powered tool that analyzes social media data to predict mental health issues may raise concerns around privacy and consent.
  5. Human oversight and accountability: AI algorithms in healthcare need to be accompanied by human oversight and accountability to ensure that they are used responsibly and ethically. For example, an AI algorithm designed to predict mortality risk in hospital patients was found to provide inaccurate predictions, leading to the deaths of several patients who were not identified as high-risk.

Overall, it's important to address these pitfalls of AI in healthcare to ensure that AI is used safely, effectively, and ethically in healthcare settings. This may involve developing more transparent and interpretable algorithms, addressing issues of bias and discrimination, ensuring that AI algorithms generalize well to new populations and settings, and incorporating human oversight and accountability into AI systems.

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