technology

How can AI help reduce preventable emergency health visits?

In this article, we have listed the applications of AI in the healthcare industry and how it can help in avoiding emergency health visits.

ai in healthcare

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used more than ever nowadays, particularly in the healthcare industry. Automation of mundane chores and other activities, as well as the management of patients and medical resources, have all benefited from artificial intelligence in healthcare. Most jobs that were previously undertaken by humans can now be completed by the system more quickly and efficiently. 

This huge benefit has made activities in the health sector easier for all parties involved, particularly for doctors, patients, and hospital administrators. The field of artificial intelligence has never stopped reviving and evolving. Modern machine learning tools are now able to recognize emergency health visits that may have been avoided. That will be covered in this article.

But first, let’s begin with what AI is in healthcare. Then we will look at how AI is used in healthcare and the benefits of AI in healthcare that helps it identify preventable health visits to the ER. And lastly, we will look at the challenges of AI in the healthcare sector.

What is AI in healthcare?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the term used to describe the application of machine learning (ML) algorithms and other cognitive technologies in healthcare (AI). The potential of computers and other technological devices to mimic human cognition, including the ability to understand, think, and make decisions or conduct actions, is referred to as artificial intelligence (AI). 

In light of this, artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare refers to the use of machines to evaluate and take action on medical data, typically with the goal of predicting a particular outcome.

One significant use of AI in healthcare is the use of ML and other conceptual disciplines for clinical diagnosis. By utilizing client data along with other information, AI can help doctors and other medical practitioners make diagnoses and treatment suggestions that are more accurate. 

Artificial intelligence trends can help make healthcare more responsive and anticipatory by analyzing massive amounts of data to produce better preventive care recommendations for patients.

Applications of artificial intelligence in healthcare

If you are wondering how artificial intelligence is used in healthcare, then you should know that this technology is proving to be a game-changer for the said sector in a number of ways. Here are a few use cases of AI that will help you get an answer to the question - How can AI improve healthcare? 

  • Primary care/triage

A number of organizations are developing direct-to-patient systems that will enable triage and advice-giving through phone or chat-based interactions. This offers easy access to fundamental queries and medical problems. For a subset of illnesses, this could provide basic counsel that would normally not be available to populations in rural or under-served locations, helping to reduce increased pressure on primary healthcare practitioners. Although the idea is straightforward, these solutions still require extensive independent validation to demonstrate their patient safety and efficacy.

  • Drug discovery 

Artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are being created to find new potential treatments from enormous databases of records on current medications, which might be modified to target serious threats like the Ebola virus. To respond to the threat of fatal diseases, the process of releasing the medication can be accelerated while increasing the effectiveness and rate of drug development.

  • Radiology

To simplify image analysis and diagnosis in radiology, AI techniques are being developed. By pointing out important areas of interest on a scan to a radiologist, AI can boost efficiency and reduce human error. There is also a chance for fully automated methods, which might comprehend and interpret scans without the need for human assistance, providing rapid interpretation in underserved areas or after office hours. Recent instances of improved tumor detection on MRIs and CT scans serve as an example of the emergence of new chances for cancer prevention.

  • Patient risk identification 

AI systems can assist doctors in real-time patient risk identification by analyzing enormous volumes of historical patient data. Re-admission risks and emphasizing patients who have a higher likelihood of returning to the hospital within 30 days of discharge are currently focal points. 

Due in part to payers' increasing resistance to paying for hospitalization expenses associated with readmission, numerous businesses, and health systems are already creating solutions based on information from the patient's electronic medical records. 

Benefits of AI in healthcare that can reduce ER visits

Artificial intelligence in healthcare

1. Artificial intelligence in healthcare can be used for early detection of diseases

ER visits can inevitably be prevented if there is early detection of diseases. With early detection, the patient can have ample amount of time to seek a proper diagnosis and get hold of all the necessary resources needed to cure the detected disease. Now how can AI help in this?

AI can help to analyze patients' past and present health difficulties. There are AI-driven solutions that increasingly take into account the people's already present data in the database. The AI then uses the same mechanism to analyze the data set to detect the presence of any disease. Additionally, healthcare practitioners, with the help of AI tools, can diagnose more correctly by comparing the disease specifics. 

Numerous healthcare mobile apps' databases have calculated millions of symptoms and diagnoses. More crucially, it can forecast probable health problems that a person may have in the future and thus reduce his/her chance of visiting the ER.

For instance, Google developed the Verily app to predict hereditary and infectious genetic illnesses. With such resources at their disposal, health professionals may accurately anticipate potential hazards in the future and take the necessary precautions now. The predictive analysis has also helped healthcare facilities become known for their improved operational management along with identifying preventable emergency health visits.

2. Artificial intelligence in healthcare can be used for accelerated speed and cost savings

Another way through which AI can reduce ER visits is by significantly increasing the speed of treatment for the patients. If the diagnostic and treatment speed is accelerated, the patient recovers faster, which reduces the chance of him/her going to the ER.   

Owing to AI algorithms, medical treatments are now a lot speedier and less expensive. From patient assessment to diagnosis, AI has had a big impact on the treatment’s speed and cost. For instance, AI can discover the biomarkers in our bodies that indicate disease, which can assist in early disease detection. AI technologies have decreased the amount of manual labor necessary to specify these biomarkers. The extensive automation has allowed us to respond faster and save more lives. 

3. Democratizing superior medical understanding and practice 

Not everyone in the medical field is a specialist in every field. But imagine if even a general physician can have access to the technology and knowledge of a specialist, then he/she can help patients who have a particular disease that is beyond the specialization of the doctor. This will reduce the ER visit of the patient. This can be achieved with the help of AI.

AI can also share the competence and expertise of specialists in order to support service providers who might otherwise lack that competence. Popular target fields include radiology and ophthalmology, in part because AI image-analysis methods have long been the subject of research and development. Many systems identify conditions that would otherwise need an ophthalmologist using pictures of the human eye. 

A general practitioner, technician, or even a patient could get to that conclusion using these applications. This will inevitably reduce one's visit to the ER. This democratization is important since specialists, especially those with high levels of expertise, are hard to come by compared to the need in many fields.

4. Enhanced accessibility can be achieved with the help of artificial intelligence in healthcare

There are instances when people do not have access to the resources or technology needed to help them with disease detection and treatment. Now, if the system is highly accessible, then everyone has an equal scope of getting the same treatment. This can be achieved with the help of AI. Since healthcare facilities powered by AI are economical and have a greater reach (even to remote areas), the chances of people visiting the ER significantly reduces.

The majority of poor nations struggle to keep up with the rapid global technological breakthroughs and lack access to basic healthcare systems and facilities. The danger of death is greater for citizens of such a nation. WHO claims that the 18.1-year difference in life expectancy between the world's richest and poorest countries as of 2019 is due to poor or no access to healthcare. These underserved locations can benefit from an effective healthcare ecosystem thanks to AI technologies. 

Digital technologies with AI support can make patient diagnosis and therapy easier and in time for even the people living in the most remote areas of the world. These applications are present and are specifically designed to aid collaboration between international and national healthcare groups in providing individuals in need with the aid they require.

5. Artificial intelligence in healthcare can be used as efficient and distinctive support for surgery

In robotics applications, artificial intelligence development has advanced significantly. The application of machine learning in surgery is the same. There are specialized AI surgical systems that are 100% accurate and can carry out the smallest movements. This implies that we can do complicated procedures effectively with fewer risks of adverse effects, blood loss, or discomfort. In a similar vein, recuperation from surgery is quicker and simpler.

For instance, while waiting for surgery, patients are exposed to antibacterial nanorobots to get rid of any infections in their bloodstream. The AI-backed information on the patient's current condition that is readily available to surgeons in real time is arguably the greatest component. Patients' concerns, particularly those related to surgery under general anesthesia, have been alleviated because of this.
If regular surgeries are conducted flawlessly, this will decrease the ER visits of patients who have faced complications due to surgery.

AI in healthcare: Main challenges 

Despite the promising potential and a wide range of optimistic analyses, there are few instances of actual AI-enabled solutions being used in clinical practice. Let's examine the main issues and challenges faced by the healthcare sector due to the application of AI in healthcare.

healthcare industry

1. Flaws while conducting research 

The main challenge that AI faces when it comes to healthcare is in the context of the research conducted to analyze the effects and impacts of AI in healthcare.

There aren't enough established methodologies, prospective trials, or peer-reviewed studies of AI in healthcare. The majority of studies have been retrospective, meaning they have only used historical patient medical records that have been diagnosed. But for physicians to completely comprehend the genuine value of AI treatment and diagnosis software in authentic situations, present patients must be studied over time.

2. Inadequate medical data 

For the clinical and technical validation of AI models, clinicians require high-quality datasets. However, due to the fragmentation of medical data across several Electronic Health records (EHRs) and software platforms, collecting patient information and images to test algorithms is challenging. An important obstacle for AI in healthcare is that the medical data from one organization may not be interoperable with other platforms.

3. Algorithm biases and inequality

The models may produce incorrect results if the information used to train ML models for AI-powered systems is biased. Data for training models comes from non-stationary contexts like clinics that serve several populations and have changing operational procedures. When an algorithm is developed using data gathered under continually changing circumstances, demography and clinical practice changes can lead to bias.

4. Privacy issues

Regarding the collection of patient data, privacy is a major problem. Although safeguards are in place for researchers to safeguard patient data, nefarious hackers are always trying to gain access. Nobody working with AI should ignore privacy issues if a company as large as Google can have security and medical data vulnerabilities. The ability of the system to anticipate information about patients even when the algorithm had not been supplied with such data would be another way that AI puts privacy at risk.

5. Errors and injuries

AI systems are prone to mistakes, which can ultimately result in patient damage or other serious issues. For example, a patient can take a medication that was incorrectly suggested by the AI system, raising extra concerns. The AI-driven radiological scan may also fail to detect malignancy. 

An incorrect hospital bed assignment based on AI forecasts can result in accidents and relapses. The potential for wide-ranging consequences of AI-related blunders is their major worry. One mistake could have a negative impact on numerous patients. No family member or friend will also take it lightly if they learn that their loved one experienced a setback due to a computer problem. 

The future of AI in healthcare

Hybrid models, where professionals are assisted in treatment planning, diagnosis, and risk factor identification but maintain full responsibility for the patient's care, present the potential for artificial intelligence in healthcare over the coming years. 

Reducing perceived risk will speed up the adoption of AI by healthcare providers and begin to provide measurable gains in patient care and operational efficiency on a large scale.

Conclusion

Due to various transparency issues, data biases, and privacy protection concerns, advanced AI models aren't yet ready for widespread deployment. However, all of these problems can be fixed by simply looking at the positive side of how AI can help in healthcare. More importantly, the advantages of AI-enabled systems surpass the work required to improve them significantly. 

With early symptom prediction, drug research, and diagnostics, AI offers great prospects to advance healthcare. The technology enables medical professionals to view the entire picture and consider other diagnoses and treatment choices. Additionally, top healthcare app development companies, in collaboration with existing AI and ML-based technologies, are already assisting businesses in streamlining their workflow and identifying avoidable emergency medical visits. One should be aware of the types of AI, AI use cases, and the future of AI in healthcare to fully reap the benefits of artificial intelligence in healthcare. 

Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

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