AI has become a buzzword in recent years. What does it mean exactly? And why should healthcare professionals care?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines. The term was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy at Dartmouth College. In 1960, he published his paper titled "Artificial Intelligence – A Modern Approach".
AI is already being used in healthcare today. For example, IBM Watson can diagnose diseases and recommend treatments. This is only the beginning. By 2022, experts predict that AI will play a major role in healthcare.
Artificial intelligence is already widely used across many different areas of healthcare. Tech companies are developing AI-powered initiatives to help patients, doctors, and nurses.
In this session, we'll discuss what AI means for healthcare. We'll look at how AI is changing diagnosis and treatment options. At the end, you will leave with an understanding of the challenges faced in applying AI to healthcare.
What Are Some Examples of AI in Healthcare
AI has been used within healthcare for many years for a variety of things. So many innovations have changed the way physicians and nurses provide the best possible care for patients. Some real-life examples of AI in healthcare include:
Computerized tomography (CT) scans are one of the most common diagnostic imaging tests. They allow medical professionals to see inside your body without having to cut you open.
The CT scan is a two dimensional image. It shows slices through your body from head to toe. Doctors use these images to detect problems like tumors, fractures, or infections.
The CT scan is considered an advanced technology. It requires special training to operate. But as more people receive CT scans, there's a growing need for radiologists who interpret them.
To keep up with demand, hospitals are offering online courses to train new radiologists. These programs are free to students.
Radiology technicians also use AI to assist with their work. Computer algorithms can analyze medical images and determine if something is wrong. Then they send alerts to the doctor so she can review the results.
Radiotherapy uses high energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It's often used to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Today, radiographers use software to create 3D models of patients' organs before each treatment. They then compare those models against previous ones to ensure that everything looks normal.
If anything changes between sessions, they notify the doctor immediately.
Radiation therapy is extremely dangerous. If it isn't done correctly, it could cause severe damage to healthy tissue. That's why doctors must be careful when using it.
However, some experts believe that AI can improve the quality of radiation therapy. Software can track patient movement during treatment. And it can adjust doses accordingly.
This would reduce exposure to harmful levels of radiation.
Phlebotomists draw blood samples for testing. They do this by inserting a needle into a vein on the arm. The needle draws out a small amount of blood.
Some phlebotomists use ultrasound machines to find veins. Others use infrared light to locate them.
Once they've found a suitable vein, they insert the needle and withdraw the blood sample.
But not all needles are created equal. Some are designed to minimize pain. Others are meant to collect only a specific type of blood sample.
A recent study showed that a machine learning algorithm could identify which type of needle was needed based on the patient's age, weight, gender, and other factors.
In addition, researchers found that the algorithm could predict how much blood would be drawn. This means that it could help phlebotomists get accurate measurements.
In the future, AI may even replace phlebotomists entirely. A few companies already offer automated blood collection systems.
These devices are similar to self-service checkouts at grocery stores. Patients place their finger on a scanner. Then the device automatically collects a sample of blood.
It sends the data to a lab where it is analyzed. The results are sent back to the machine. It then dispenses the medication or tests prescribed by the doctor.
The system eliminates the risk of infection and reduces wait times. It also cuts down on costs.
Artificial intelligence has been around since the 1950s. But we're just now seeing its potential in healthcare.
As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will continue to transform medicine. Doctors and nurses will no longer have to spend hours searching through stacks of paper records.
They'll instead rely on an intelligent assistant that keeps them up to date with the latest research.
So far, most applications of artificial intelligence in healthcare have focused on improving diagnosis.
But as technology advances, so too will treatments. In the next two decades, we expect to see many new innovations.
From robots that perform surgeries to virtual reality experiences that put you inside your body.
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