Some 367 healthcare AI start-ups received $4bn in funding last year, according to CB Insights. Investors are plunging into everything from sophisticated scheduling programs that maximize the use of operating rooms to prediction systems that read mammograms.
The consultancy Accenture predicts that machine learning will create $150bn in annual healthcare savings in the US alone by 2026.
We also see health monitoring with AI technology in wearables.
Still, most AI experts agree we are decades away from eliminating the need for doctors and nurses partially or entirely. Common knowledge says AI today is diagnosing, learning to identify, and helping simplify complicated situations and pass them on to doctors and nurses who are ready to handle them.
Or are they?
AI in general nursing and medicine
AI is of growing importance in radiological diagnostics.
More medical personnel are turning to AI to help reduce the rate of error.
AI-controlled robots can over the next 5 years reduce the complications and errors that can occur during surgery and makes the hospital stay shorter.
Fewer errors and more productivity. A McKinsey research mentioned that integrating medical AI devices into the patient care workflow would increase nurse productivity by 30% and 50%.
An American Medical Association survey last year found that 36% of doctors believe digital health tools, particularly telemedicine and remote monitoring, definitely boost their ability to care for patients
A recent Forrester investigation said that up to 20% of significant health industry organizations in China intend to adopt intelligent nursing technology, and 17% will adopt medical robots in the next three years.
When it comes to diagnosing diseases, Deep Learning algorithms have recently made huge advances in automatically diagnosing diseases, making diagnostics cheaper and more accessible.
More ambitious systems involve the combination of multiple data sources (CT, MRI, genomics and proteomics, patient data, and even handwritten files) in assessing a disease or its progression.
Today, AI sensors can smell a patient’s breath feed it to a computer which then analyzes the composition of the air and displays the measured chemicals as a 3D-graphic, which can indicate that the patient has a form of cancer or other illnesses.
These sensors not only help with diagnosis, they also store and learn from all the analyzed data from previous examinations.
The use of AI to predict cancer patients can also be obtained via a person’s DNA. AI will perform a body scan to detect cancers and diseases that someone may face based on their genetics.
Facial recognition can diagnose genetic diseases in children.
The AI-driven technology carries out a highly detailed face scan. Then a computer compares the facial features to information about various genetic diseases. Several rare defects can be diagnosed by the shape of the head or the position of a child’s eyes.
BioIntellisense’s stick-on AI sensor is just 3 inches wide by 1 inch tall. This smart plastic with metal double hexagon is for remote monitoring of vital signs with medical-grade accuracy.
Patients who show symptoms of depression can communicate with an AI-driven 24-hour chatbot. The bot asks patients about their feelings and offers insights on how to deal with problems. One study with American college students showed a decline in depression and anxiety following regular interaction with the chatbot.
More serious doctor/nurse functions
AI is moving into more advanced medical functions.
1) Robotic surgery
Robots that have been equipped with artificial intelligence technology can analyze someone’s messy record data before performing the operation. The robot will guide and direct the surgeon during the operation process.
2) Virtual nurse
Molly, developed by Sense helps nurses monitor and track the patient’s condition.
3) Creation of new drugs
AI is used to scan existing medications that can be redesigned to fight disease.
AI in the UAE and region
The case for virtual hospitals and telehealth in the GCC and wider Middle East region is stronger than ever, since the outbreak of COVID-19 that caused cities to be put under lockdown or severe restrictions implemented since late February. And AI figures in many of them.
IT spending in the Middle East and Africa region is expected to top $83bn in 2020, with significant investments in artificial intelligence according to insights published towards the end of last year by IDC.
AI spend is led by banking and retail with these sectors to account for more than 33% of AI investment in 2020, followed by spending from federal and central governments and the telecommunication industries.
More recently, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai announced the AI powering of all communication and appointment booking platforms, to ease access to care and communication with their patients.
The world’s first AI university opened in Abu Dhabi.
Medicus AI, a health technology company started in Dubai in 2015, has an app that translates medical reports and health data into easy-to-understand, personalized explanations and recommendations for users.
Medicus AI, which has 47 medical and research scientist staff, combines human-verified data analysis with artificial intelligence (AI) to produce the reports.
A year ago, Medicus AI closed Series A funding of $5.5 million (AED 20.2 million), and reported annual revenue of AED 4 million.