Almost every sector has come to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has hit the lives of millions of people around the world. The healthcare infrastructure in almost all countries is overburdened. Now, public and private healthcare firms are implementing the AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology for early detection, diagnosis, and research.
Artificial Intelligence technology plays a crucial role in the early detection of medical conditions, diagnosis, and drug research. AI-powered tools are helping authorities in several countries to detect, track the spread, contact tracing, diagnose, and assist patients in recovery.
Approach any IoT App Development Company, and they would elaborate on how technology is helping small and large firms shape the healthcare sector. AI web apps help healthcare professionals with the automation of clinical notes, prioritize tasks, and organize loads of data necessary for case studies at a later stage. The potential of robotics and AI in the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic is vast as the technology can perform tasks faster than humans and at a lower cost. Here’s how artificial intelligence technology is transforming the healthcare industry.
Interoperability solutions in healthcare is one more area that demands attention due to functional challenges and gaps in healthcare management. The modern healthcare system works on a value-based care model, therefore interoperability and data integration can bring in strategic and operational efficiencies by reducing manual effort and rework. This necessitates harmonization across systems and connecting platforms like EHR, claims, IoT, remote monitoring which are significant to meeting compliance requirements.
There has also been a surge of demand for medical laboratory equipment supplies to support COVID emergencies. Many scientific and laboratory equipment companies like SciQuip played a pivotal role in continuously delivering COVID Rapid Test Kits, PPEs, ULT freezers, Cryogenic storage swab and specimen collection tools for emergency aids. The AI-driven technology in association with pharmaceutical laboratories and equipment manufacturers together have benefitted medical industries to combat the pandemic effect.
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Early detection of life-threatening medical conditions
Potential life-threatening diseases are treatable if detected in the early stages. Caregivers and doctors can monitor patients and oversee early-stage heart disease with AI-powered medical devices and consumer wearables.
Out of several AI-enabled tools, the systems used for reviewing mammograms (x-rays) deserve a special mention. They help detect cancer in the most accurate and faster manner, resulting in the reduction of unnecessary biopsies. As per the American Cancer Society, AI assists in identifying disease in women at an early stage.
Unlocking vast amount of data and faster diagnosis
When it comes to AI in diagnosis, Google’s DeepMind Health and IBM’s Watson for Health are trendsetters. Google’s DeepMind Health has developed tools that have combined systems neuroscience with machine learning. These solutions help in diagnosing various diseases.
IBM’s Watson for Health can scan medical records, suggest treatment options, and review medical information faster than humans. Power diagnosis and unlocking vast amounts of health data has become possible due to cognitive technology.
Pharma companies are indulged in a race to develop vaccines and medication for treating coronavirus infection. However, a drug’s journey from a research lab to the hospital is a long and costly one. Taking it from the research lab to the hospital can take 12 years or even longer. Roughly, just around five medicines out of 5,000 manage to clear various tests and reach the final approval process for human consumption.
The Artificial Intelligence technology has helped in drastically cutting the research and development duration, and associated costs. The credit for creating the world’s first drug using the AI and machine learning technologies goes to Japanese pharmaceutical firm Sumitomo and British start-up Exscientia. These firms developed medicine for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and the drug reached the trial stage in just 5 months rather than the usual 12 months’ time frame.
AI in the fight against COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic forced the healthcare industry to explore AI’s true potential by using it beyond electronic health records and medical imaging.
The technology has been adopted widely since March this year. From examining x-rays, checking signs of the infection to detesting the virus’s spread, and creating potential vaccines, AI is already proving crucial. Its synthesizing and analyzing abilities are being appreciated.
Predicting the spread
In January this year, BlueDot, a platform developed by the Canadian health monitoring firm, used AI-driven algorithms for scanning airline ticketing data, news reports from around the world, and animal disease network inputs to predict the spread of the virus in advance. The tool was able to issue a warning about how the infection might spread during the coming months even before the experts at the World Health Organization.
Analyzing x-rays for detecting coronavirus infection
Radiologists were already using the technology for automating image analysis before the coronavirus crisis. Since January, several healthcare companies worldwide are using Artificial Intelligence-powered tools for analyzing CT scans of patients to look for signs of the infection in the lungs. These systems finish the time-consuming analysis tasks in just a few seconds, with maximum accuracy.
In the UK, several hospitals implemented Qure.ai’s chest x-ray analysis tool to detect the disease’s rate and progression in patients. It suddenly became the top frontline diagnostic tool for doctors handling COVID-19 patients.
Helping in finding the best possible combinations of drugs
Many private and government healthcare agencies have found that a combination of existing drugs in the market can reduce the virus’s effects. Combination therapy involves using two or more medicines simultaneously to target different aspects of the infection as part of treatment.
The approach is smart and has helped uncover the potential of existing drugs used for treating humans and animals. However, analyzing all the possible combinations of drugs available in the market may take several years or even a decade. This is where Artificial Intelligence technology comes into the picture.
The UK-based biotechnology firm, Healx, has created an AI platform that helps pharma companies and healthcare firms discover drug combinations for effectively treating COVID-19 patients by improving their immune response. The firm and its platforms specialize in finding treatment options for handling rare diseases. The biotech’s AI platform helps researchers use combinations of approved medicines available worldwide to target various aspects of the disease pathology.
The CAIAC initiative
An ample amount of data related to COVID-19 is produced by almost every country around the globe. However, it can do well and provide meaningful insights only if organized in an accessible format.
A recently formed coalition under the United Nations umbrella, CAIAC-‘Collective and Augmented Intelligence against Covid-19,’ is a ray of hope. The CAIAC aims to collect data sets for patients with various economic, social, and health backgrounds and analyze the same with the help of all the available AI tools.
The group’s intention is to develop an Artificial Intelligence-powered platform that can help analyze the big data sets and extract insights that can help human expertise in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. In the next few months, the combination of AI and ML will dominate the healthcare mobile app development solutions market around the world.