When it comes to health and matters of life and death, the possibilities that Artificial Intelligence can deliver are more than intriguing. And in a time of recent austerity, the potential for efficiency and advanced treatments has been a shining light in a somewhat gloomy decade for the NHS. The use of AI in the health industries has been more prominent and more advanced than most, in areas including detection of diseases, administration, training, diagnosis and recovery.
In detection and diagnosis, a growing suite of AI-powered applications that can spot cancers or the early signs of eye disease are being used by doctors around the world. Recently, researchers have created a system that can diagnose early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in young people.
Though overlooked for more ‘creative’ and ‘sexy’ applications of technology, the impact AI has had on medical administration has been massive. Electronic medical records, according to some studies, represent a turning point in improving quality of care while increasing productivity as well. From the point of view of a patient experience, they mean shorter treatment times during appointments and over a course of treatment. They also allow for an increase in doctors and nurses’ face-to-face time with patients.
Some of the most amazing and impactful technologies may not be ready yet, but their implications could be breathtaking. One is precision medicine, an ambitious discipline that uses deep genomics algorithms to scan through a patient’s DNA, looking for mutations and anomalies that could be linked to diseases such as cancer. People like Craig Venter, one of the fathers of the Human Genome Project, are currently working on a new generation of computational technologies that can predict the effects of any genetic alteration, paving the road to individualised treatments and early detection of many preventable diseases.