Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

By Neeki Tahmassebi Published on Jan. 13, 2020

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.

AI for Patient Identification 

Clinical Trials, Deterioration

Pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers alike are using new technologies to identify and match patients into clinical trials, as well as to identify when a patient may be developing a new health condition, or when their current condition begins to deteriorate. 

Brite Health: Brite Health provides an AI platform for clinical trials that improves patient engagement and compliance in clinical trials. The platform’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to ‘know’ patients and classify them based on their needs and preferences, providing them with a uniquely personalized experience to improve engagement, retention rates, and loyalty. 

Remedy: Remedy’s AI-assisted platform equips non-physician staff with clinical expertise to uncover hidden chronic diseases through phone screening interviews. Early diagnosis allows us to find the best fulcrum point for intervention to positively affect health outcomes and decrease cost. 

AI for Personalized Care 

Precision Medicine, Contextual Outreach

Precision medicine is in some ways the holy grail of healthcare; AI technologies continue to move us towards that goal, helping health systems deliver personalized and contextual care.

InsightRx: InsightRX is a software platform that incorporates the principles of quantitative pharmacology and machine learning to provide an individualized understanding of a patient’s response to treatment. The platform guides treatment decisions at both the individual level and the population level. InsightRX combines real-time patient data and machine learning to understand individual patient pharmacology and inform dose optimization.

MotiSpark: MotiSpark delivers a mobile-based, delightful therapeutic experience that improves the hardest to change behaviors by combining cognitive behavioral therapy, entertainment and social media. The patent-pending software delivers personalized video messages that reinforce coping mechanisms, and prescribed behavior plans when and where people need them most -- right on their phones.

AI for Productivity / Efficiency 

Provider Workflow

Healthcare providers are being asked to do more with less, but where software once slowed providers down (hello first-gen EMRs!), we’re finally beginning to see the rise of tools that actually help automate and improve certain aspects of the workflow. 

Sopris Health: Sopris is a patent-pending digital assistant that uses voice and A.I. to complete documentation tasks for clinicians, typically in less than 45 seconds. The Sopris Assistant is fully automated, completing its work in real time without help from human scribes. No human scribes means the tool is highly scalable and available at a price point that works for all clinicians -- physicians, advanced practitioners and nurses alike.

HealthFinch: healthfinch's Practice Automation Platform, Charlie, leverages EMR data to automate, delegate and simplify routine, repeatable tasks, like prescription refill requests, visit planning, diagnostics results management, and more. The flagship, award-winning application, Swoop for prescription refill requests, is used by major health systems across the country to improve workflows and get providers and their staff working top-of-license.

AI for Drug Discovery 

The drug discovery process has long been an expensive and time consuming business fraught with high levels of risk. New models are applying data to de-risk the process and improve chances for success at a number of different points along the development cycle.  

VastBiome: VastBiome is a drug discovery company that is leveraging the power of deep learning, distributed supercomputing, and next-generation sequencing to disrupt the drug discovery process. The core technology builds on recent research that describes a central role for the human gut microbiome in directing the host immune system and determining outcomes in many disease indications including autoimmune disease and immuno-oncology. VastBiome has developed methods to identify, prioritize, and isolate the key bacterial metabolites that drive these outcomes. 

BioVista: The BioVista platform leverages validated augmented intelligence for better biomedical decision-making that enables better, faster, less expensive drug discovery and development. Biovista's AI has ingested much of the world's biomedical data and has organized it and connected it in ways to enable efficient answering of biomedical questions such as: "What else can my drug do?"; "What adverse events am I likely to experience when I enter the clinic?"; and "What patient sub-populations should be included or excluded in my clinical trial?". 

AI for Triage and Remote Patient Care 

Intelligent Assistants, Sensing, Monitoring

Care continues to push outside the four walls of the hospital and clinic, which means technology continues to play a bigger role maintaining touchpoints with patients, and intelligently escalating patients when they need care.   

Gyant: GYANT helps hospitals, health plans, and pharma companies engage and support patients at scale. GYANT’s accessible chat-based AI takes a medical history and navigates patients to the appropriate next step, including a visit to the doctor, labs, or an efficient telemedicine encounter on GYANT's platform. Proactive check-ins keep patients engaged and supported along the patient journey.

Harmonize Health: Harmonize is a turnkey population health management company that sells health outcomes directly to customers, and handles all the technological overhead needed to achieve those outcomes. For customers, Harmonize manages patient populations with minimal disruption to daily workflow. For patients, the technology is best-in-class. In the backend, Harmonizes combines a platform for sensors, analytics, and interventional services to deliver on population health goals. 

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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