Over the last few decades, technology has revolutionized healthcare, ushering in an age of digital records, telemedicine, and wearable health monitors.
We’ve leaped from lengthy paper trails to instant electronic data access. Virtual consultations are now common, bringing the doctor’s expertise straight into our homes. Plus, with smart devices tracking everything from heart rates to sleep patterns, we’re empowered to take charge of our own health like never before.
But, due to AI-driven technologies, this is only the beginning. In the upcoming years, we should see major changes in the field of medicine and healthcare, starting with diagnosing illnesses, creating treatments, and looking after patients.
Let’s see what we can expect and how AI is likely to become an integral part of how we do medicine in the near future.
Thanks to massive strides in image recognition, computers can now pore over thousands of medical scans with a level of precision that’s hard for the human eye to match. They’re trained to spot tiny clues across MRI images, X-rays, and CT scans that might signal anything from fractures to tumors.
Next, AI systems sift through vast amounts of data to identify disease markers undetectable through conventional methods. By recognizing subtle trends and correlations in patient data, these smart algorithms often predict health issues before they become symptomatic.
The good news is that these changes are happening right now as we speak. For instance, an AI system was shown to outperform radiologists in detecting breast cancer from mammograms. Not only did it reduce false positives and negatives, but it also demonstrated how consistently replicable and accurate an AI’s “eye” can be.
While it’s not yet the norm, AI-assisted surgery is a thing of the present. Surgeons are teaming up with AI-powered robots capable of executing intricate procedures with increased steadiness and exactness. Thanks to these advances, we’re witnessing surgeries that boast smaller incisions, reduced risk of infection, and quicker recovery times.
Let’s take the da Vinci Surgical System as an example. This system has state-of-the-art robotic arms and can provide surgeons with enhanced dexterity and control. As a result, operations like minimally invasive spine surgery (which is already quite advanced) can become even more comfortable and safe for the patient.
A recent study reported that patients undergoing robotic-assisted kidney transplants had fewer complications six months post-op compared to those who underwent traditional surgery. Additionally, doctors can use AI technology to monitor patient recovery and identify and mitigate postoperative complications before they threaten patient recovery.
Accelerated Research and Drug Development
Drug discovery and testing is a lengthy and tedious process. However, due to AI involvement, things are moving a lot faster.
In this case, specialists use AI-powered predictive analytics to forecast how different drugs will behave in the body. The technology is capable of sifting through complex biochemical data and can simulate countless scenarios in a fraction of the time it would take human researchers. Complementary techniques such as SPR assay services enable scientists to experimentally verify these predictions and optimize lead compounds.
Right now, there is an AI called Atomwise, which uses algorithms to predict which molecules could lead to new medicines. In one case, it identified potential drugs for Ebola virus infection in just days – a process that traditionally might have taken months or even years.
Another example features an AI platform developed by DeepMind called AlphaFold. This system stunned the scientific community with its ability to predict protein structures, which is an essential part of understanding biological processes and designing targeted therapies. In 2021, AlphaFold made headlines for predicting the structure of nearly every protein known to science, accelerating opportunities for medical breakthroughs at an unprecedented pace.
AI in Veterinary Medicine
Human medicine and healthcare are not the only segments impacted by the power of AI technologies. AI is also making a name for itself in veterinary medicine in fields like diagnostic, health monitoring, and more.
Veterinary radiologists now use AI to review X-rays and scans of pets with an added layer of precision. The current systems can pinpoint signs of conditions like arthritis or heart disease quickly and accurately.
Also, there’s a wave of wearables designed for pets that monitor everything from activity levels to vitals such as heart rate or body temperature. This constant stream of data not only helps veterinarians understand an animal’s day-to-day well-being but can also flag up any abnormalities that might need a closer look.
AI-driven technologies are capable of refining diagnosis, revolutionizing surgery, and expediting drug development (among many others).
The technology is already showing its capabilities by accurately interpreting scans and aiding intricate procedures, so it’s only natural to expect a future where medicine is increasingly preemptive and personalized. Even our furry friends benefit from AI’s discerning eye.