Talk to most people about artificial intelligence, and the first things come to mind are homicidal computers, like HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or entire systems like Skynet conquering humanity in the Terminator series.
The truth about AI, however, is far less destructive, but far more hopeful! AI, in its current state, is software that rapidly collects and sifts through data. It finds patterns in it and then draws conclusions based on guidelines that humans have provided. This has massive efficiency repercussions for many industries, including healthcare or patient-centric care.
Your Virtual Nurse
AI will be critical to the virtual hospital concept of allowing people to undergo recovery—or even medical treatment—at home instead of a hospital. One of the reasons for this is that AI is capable of supporting uninterrupted, professional supervision.
AI, when paired with monitoring devices, could provide a patient with 100% customized medical supervision. Today, this is only possible for wealthy people that hire doctors and nurses to supervise their medical treatment in shifts, for constant, 24/7 coverage.
With AI, however, the virtual hospital gets a big boost from something that can monitor incoming data constantly, and make decisions far faster than any human based on that data. It means that if something is wrong, the AI can quickly spot it and notify the right medical professionals for rapid response.
However, it can also mean that the AI may notice a pattern and suggest something to the patient instead, such as adjusting diet, or sleeping habits. Now, the dream of having a medical professional paying 100% attention to just one person, 100% of the time isn’t a luxury service. AI can provide that type of attentive, patient-centric care to anyone.
AI can even help medical professionals! We’re now seeing that once AI has trained in what to spot for certain diagnostic processes—such as evaluating patient charts for breast cancer, the AI was able to arrive at a 99% accurate diagnosis faster than trained medical experts.
This type of faster diagnosis is now being directed at other illnesses, such as skin cancer and coronary artery disease. Rapid pattern searching allows patients to get the accurate assessments they need faster, for a better chance at a successful recovery. Humans need time to assess medical data carefully, but an AI can quickly evaluate year’s worth in a fraction of the time.