Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

By Neeki Tahmassebi

Science fiction novels and movies characterize artificial intelligence as a destructive world-dominating robot that will end all of humanity. In reality, it is quite the opposite. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of innovation in healthcare and is growing efficiently to save human lives. Media contorts the meaning of AI, so it is important to understand the types of AI and the difference between Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Cute AI and Child

Artificial Intelligence, the technology that performs characteristically human tasks, includes areas of planning, understanding language, recognizing objects and sounds, learning, and problem solving. Two different types of AI exist- Narrow and General Intelligence. Narrow Intelligence hyper focuses on one facet of human intelligence, while General Intelligence generally focuses on all facets of human intelligence. Machine Learning trains the algorithm of the AI, so it knows the “how” aspect. The difference between Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is that Machine Learning is direction given to the AI to function. It works by giving the algorithm massive amounts of data to train itself to adjust and improve task performance.


Top AI Applications 

AI has infiltrated the healthcare space tremendously in the last decade bringing in billions of dollars to different sectors. Here are the top 10 AI Applications with large revenues:

AI Revenues

(Source: Accenture) 

These applications are predicted to create $150 billion dollars in annual savings for the healthcare economy by 2026. The healthcare market itself is predicted to reach 6.6 billion by 2021. Because of this AI healthcare boom, insurers and venture funds are piling millions of dollars into these technologies. Venture funds such as UnitedHealth Group Optum Ventures created a $250 million dollar fund to invest in artificial intelligence ventures such as Buoy Health- a AI symptom advice health assistant application. Health AI startups are exponentially increasing as the market is set to register a compound annual growth rate of 40% through 2021. The top three successful applications taking the market at the moment are robot-assisted surgery, virtual nursing assistants, and administrative workflow assistant as seen above.


The State of AI Today 

A couple aspects of AI healthcare hinder the market such as guidelines, standard regulations, and the reluctance of healthcare professionals to trust and use AI technology. Because artificial intelligence technology has not been validated by the market yet, it depends on healthcare professionals to take the risk to use them. 

The healthcare market is slowly realizing how the benefits can immensely outweigh the risks of AI. The ways it impacts healthcare are endless. Artificial Intelligence uses image-based algorithms to create the new generation of radiology tools for problems like tumors. Image-based artificial intelligence has partnered up with the new generation “selfie.” Patients take photos of their faces, so opthamologists, dermatologists, and developmental disease doctors can diagnose their patients. 

The use of AI has also lead to predictive patient data analysis. AI can use health record data to identify infection patterns and highlight at risk patients. AI can predict how cancer might change in the human body and create different therapies and treatments for cancer unique to a patient’s genetic makeup. Through the use of these artificial intelligence algorithms, we are able to gather valuable information on population health and change the future.


Startups to Watch AI Medical

Element AI leverages artificial intelligence research to create bespoke business applications, helping to launch and incubate AI solutions in partnership with large corporations and research institutions. Its tailor-made application programming interfaces (APIs) deliver benefits to users immediately, without long integration phases.

UIPath specializes in robotic process automation, leveraging computer vision to operate the user interface layer of software more efficiently and accurately than human users. 

Hyper Anna provides a virtual data scientist that leverages artificial intelligence to deliver on-demand insights to financial services companies. The startup’s predictive tools have been used for business development, expense management, revenue forecasting, and supply chain management, among other applications. 

Bonsai helps organizations build and deploy intelligent systems by improving the programming and management of AI models. Its technology has been used in industries including robotics, manufacturing, retail, logistics, and energy. 

Saagie offers open-source data technologies to increase organizational efficiency. Saagie’s smart data platform provides a variety of solutions, including compliance automation for KYC (know your customer) and data governance for GDPR (general data protection regulation).

AiCure uses artificial intelligence to visually confirm medication ingestion. The clinically-validated platform works on smartphones to reduce risk and optimize patient behavior.

Arterys is web-based medical imaging analytics platform powered by AI with unprecedented speed for radiologists.

Freenome is next-generation cancer screening and diagnostic tests through the power of artificial intelligence. By using artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize disease-associated patterns among billions of circulating and cell-free (cf) biomarkers, Freenome is developing simple, accurate, and noninvasive blood tests for early-cancer screening and treatment selection.

The AI market is soaring high and fueled by its own applications. Artificial Intelligence will transform the healthcare system as we see it today without a doubt. With a processing system more million times faster than a human mind, AI changes the way doctors diagnose and patients heal. The future for Artificial Intelligence in healthcare is bright.

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About the Author:

Neeki Tahmassebi is a Summer Intern for the Health & Wellness vertical at Plug and Play Ventures. She is a third year undergraduate student at UC Davis majoring in Neurology, Physiology, and Behavior and pursuing a minor in Computer Science. Her passion is in biomedical technology and healthcare innovation. She is currently doing clinical research for Obstetrics and Gynecology at UC Davis Health. Neeki has also worked on other clinical research trials in Emergency Medicine. On her free time, she enjoys being a part of musical theatre, hiking, reading books, and listening to music.