Why AI in healthcare may be a lifesaver
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
As advances in artificial intelligence continue to make headlines in healthcare, many experts agree that this technology holds great potential to make the industry more efficient and more accessible.
AI has already made an impact on many other fields, including education and even marketing, so why not healthcare? Advances in AI are driving the adoption of this sci-fi technology in healthcare. In fact, it’s been estimated that the global value of AI in healthcare will reach $22.79 billion by 2023, compared to $2.16 billion in 2017. This is according to Allied Market Research.
A Quick Definition
Artificial intelligence (AI) can be defined as the science and engineering adopted to design intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. AI is an intelligent system that applies various human intelligence-based functions, such as reasoning, learning and problem-solving skills, on different disciplines like biology, computer science, mathematics, linguistics, psychology and engineering.
A Quick AI Healthcare Example:An Algorithm That Can Detect Skin Cancer
One of AI’s biggest potential benefits is the early detection and prevention of deadly diseases. Imagine having an app that can tell you when something’s wrong with your body, even before you make an appointment or notice symptoms. That’s exactly what researchers at Stanford University are trying to accomplish, and they’ve already made huge strides.
In early 2017, a group of scientists announced the development of an AI algorithm that can detect skin cancer. They first created a highly detailed database containing 130,000 images of skin abnormalities and diseases. Based on this large digital library, they developed and trained an algorithm to diagnose skin cancer. The results were then compared to diagnoses made by board-certified dermatologists. The algorithm was 91% accurate with its diagnoses.
For people who live far from the nearest dermatologist, who cannot easily take time off work for a doctor’s appointment, or for those who cannot afford to see a specialist, receiving a diagnosis on their smartphone is more than just convenient; it could be lifesaving!
This early work lays a solid foundation for further developments in the field. According to the Stanford research group, this knowledge could be used to develop an app that would be able to detect skin cancer based on a photo taken via a smartphone. Imagine the implications!
Around 5.4 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Although the 10-year survival rate is 95% if caught early enough, not all patients are lucky enough to get an early diagnosis. With Stanford’s AI innovation, someone who notices suspicious changes on their skin could use the app and get diagnosed in a very timely manner.
The Future of Healthcare?
This wave of innovation driven by AI could lead to the development of leading-edge solutions capable of saving more lives. Although many AI applications for healthcare are still in early development, they move the world one step closer to a future where healthcare is more efficient, more affordable and more accessible to more people groups.
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