Forward:Thinking is a series that will feature stories about my ventures into real estate, esports, blindness, poverty, artificial intelligence and everything in between. Read below to find the third entry into the series which discusses the introduction and expansion of using artificial intelligence in healthcare.
The last couple of years saw the healthcare sector suffer exponentially. Whether it was a deficit of staff or a lack of resources, healthcare centres around the world have struggled. However, with the evolution of artificial intelligence technology in healthcare, brighter days could be on the horizon.
As I have mentioned before, AI is not what the popular culture can often portray it to be. Whilst yes, some AI machines are housed by a robot, they are not destined to overrule humanity. It is a technology that is here to help us thrive.
This week, I have been thinking a lot about healthcare and the suffering the sector and healthcare workers have been subjected to over the last few years. It also got me to reflect on my own contributions to healthcare, especially with blindness. Combining two of my most favoured interests, I wondered – how does healthcare and AI work together?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning has often been restricted to labs and academia, however more recently it has been used throughout hospitals and surgeries to assist in operations and diagnoses.
The technology can be used to immediately and simultaneously assess several symptoms and match that with data to create an accurate diagnosis. AI can also be used to assist in surgery. Whilst the machine will be controlled by a surgeon, AI supports and assists the surgeon in making accurate and precise surgical movements that a human hand alone would not be able to achieve.
The part that intrigues me the most is the use of AI healthcare in rural areas. AI powered machines and software are able to screen for eye diseases and send images to the ophthalmologist who would then recommend the treatment. This is similar to what is used at an outreach camp for the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation. The eye is scanned using a portable camera and screen where the doctor is able to immediately make a diagnosis and send the patient for their surgery.
AI adds efficiency and accuracy in healthcare and it intrigues me to see where the technology will take us next. With the COVID-19 pandemic nearly behind us, it is exciting to look towards the coming years to think about what we have endured and how we can do better. The pandemic showed us that there is a worldwide shortage of healthcare workers. With AI impacting efficiency of healthcare, there might one day be a way for AI to completely reduce the strain of workers and allow them to have the support they have needed.
The handling of big data across medical institutions by artificial intelligence has excelled. AI can give an in depth analysis of data at rapid speeds. This can influence the way the healthcare sector reacts to situations like an outbreak to track movement and make decisions regarding public health without waiting until it is too late.
As always, I remain extremely positive about the future of AI and the influences it has across the world, throughout every industry. I believe that this is just the beginning for its impact on healthcare and I look forward to what we, working with AI, can achieve.
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