How is AI shaping the healthcare industry?

By: Sophie Weaver

16, April, 2019


Artificial Intelligence - Machine Learning -


There is no doubt Artificial Intelligence (AI) is surely one heck of a futuristic technology that supersedes others. The concept of ‘human-like intelligence’, possessed by machines, has travelled back from the oldest of the fiction novels to this very day reality, assisting humans in every possible way. It does have the potential to transform today’s scattered society into a perfect, utopic world. This is not going to happen any time sooner, but it may very likely will!

Imagine a technology detecting a fatal health condition way before it starts to dominate the whole body and providing potential preventive measures to stop it at its developing stage. Is it not interesting to know that technology can actually save lives? It may have sounded like a fictional tale in the distant past, but it sounds achievable in today’s tech evolutionary environment.

The rise of AI in healthcare

AI, being progressive in nature, is becoming a sophisticated ‘human brain-like’ technology that is assisting humans in their laborious tasks. Combined with robotics, AI is gradually becoming a part of the healthcare domain.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is already helping people by keeping them healthy. There are apps and tech applications that promote healthier behaviour in individuals, encouraging for a proactive management of healthy lifestyle. Blending cognitive computing with IoMT will assist healthcare professionals to study everyday patterns and requirements of the people they care for, which will allow them to deliver an improved feedback and support to stay healthy.

IBM Watson Health, part of IBM’s cognitive-solutions, is the best example to explain how AI is actually making healthcare better.

Managing care: IBM Watson Care Manager carefully examines organised and unorganised patient data, along with the latest evidence-based medicine, quality standards, and regulatory requirements. It helps healthcare teams to prepare personalised care plans and recommend the best approaches to care.

Expediting drug discovery: In the words of IBM Watson Health general manager Deborah DiSanzo, “IBM Watson “makes invisible data visible.” It can easily process the ever-growing amount of research data generated every day and holds the potential to come up with new drugs to market faster than before.

Detection of suitable cancer treatments: IBM Watson was part of a Genomics study wherein it had analysed tumour-sequencing data. The results were astonishing. The AI tech used in this research was over 99% accurate in ascertaining the treatment recommended by the human tumour board. Moreover, the IBM Watson found clinically actionable information for one-third of the patients that human physicians were not able to identify. Now it is being used in over 155 hospitals and healthcare organisations.

The burgeoning AI healthcare market

According to Harpreet Singh Buttar, Transformational Health Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, AI systems are all set to transform the way humans think about disease diagnosis and treatment. He says that AI can enhance the expertise of trained clinicians and will provide an added layer of decision support that will make them able to reduce inaccuracies or errors in care administration.

Frost & Sullivan predicts that the AI healthcare market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40% through 2021. This is mainly due to the technology’s ability to improve healthcare outcomes by 30-40% and reducing half of the cost of treatment at the same time.

The importance of AI is not limited to the clinical settings alone. The technology is already in use for medical diagnostics, improving pharmaceutical marketing, etc. The AI-powered technologies are making essential changes at the very early stage of the patient journey.