AI technology spreads its wings in healthcare sector

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Long a mainstay of film, television and books, artificial intelligence has moved beyond the realm of science fiction to become science fact - and healthcare is leading the charge.

A recent report from Stanford researchers titled "AI and Life in 2030" makes the case that healthcare is rife with potential.

"For AI technologies, healthcare has long been viewed as a promising domain," the researchers stated. "AI-based applications could improve health outcomes and quality of life for millions of people in the coming years—but only if they gain the trust of doctors, nurses, and patients, and if policy, regulatory, and commercial obstacles are removed."

Clinical decision support, patient monitoring and automated surgical devices were all highlighted as prospective applications for the technology.

"Recent successes, such as mining social media to infer possible health risks, machine learning to predict patients at risk, and robotics to support surgery, have expanded a sense of possibility for AI in healthcare," the researchers continued.

"There are currently more than 90 AI startups in the healthcare space."

Data from CB Insights' venture capital database showed business leaders are putting their money where their mouths are. With more than 90 AI startups in the healthcare space as of late 2016, CB Insights counted over 55 equity funding rounds throughout the previous year alone, accounting for millions of dollars for everything from improved imaging and diagnostics to reduced drug discovery times.

A focus on information processing
Among the many applications of AI technology in healthcare, some common themes emerge. Artificially intelligent algorithms are able to process mountains of information in real time, leading to smarter decision-making and more accurate treatment provided by clinicians.

For instance, Wired recently published an article detailing how AI can be used to comb through the 2.5 million scientific papers that are introduced each year for information regarding new and improved treatment options.

Meanwhile, Fast Company highlighted the ways AI can be used to enhance the diagnosing of diseases through the rapid processing of thousands of medical images.

Of course, it remains to be seen how these technological breakthroughs will account for the patient recording and reporting obligations modern clinicians face.

As an example, even if new technology makes it easier for physicians to diagnose diseases, in order for clinicians to offer accurate treatment and receive full reimbursement for their services, they must contend with a labyrinth of codes. All too often, these complicated coding systems lead to a lack of specificity in the diagnosis and a reimbursement that is not fully maximized.

Fortunately, today's healthcare providers do not need to wait for tomorrow's technology to solve this problem.

Clinical interface terminology like that offered by Intelligent Medical Objects makes it simple for clinicians to provide accurate, highly specific diagnoses through terminology that speaks in familiar clinician language and automatically maps to modern medical codes, ensuring full reimbursement for services and first-rate care for patients.

AI may be transforming the healthcare space, yet something as simple as recording and reporting patient illnesses remains a significant barrier for clinicians without the right tools.

IMO clinical terminology is the most widely used in the industry - find out why.