How Covid-19 is Accelerating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare
Even after 2 years, the effects of Covid-19 are still clearly visible across the globe, affecting industries, businesses and our daily lives.
Healthcare AI Rises Amidst Covid-19
Even after 2 years, the effects of Covid-19 are still clearly visible across the globe, affecting industries, businesses and our daily lives. However, there are some positive takeaways that can be made from the whole ordeal – the adoption & acceptance of artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector.
The World Health Organization highlighted how AI could be an important technology to manage the crises caused by the virus. One stellar example would be in the area where AI is revolutionizing diagnosis. Axial AI, Skymind’s AI-powered CT scan that quickly analyzes the progression of the disease in patients with over 90% accuracy. The AI diagnostic platform has been used to help thousands of patients across Chinese provinces, including Wuhan and Hubei.
Despite the devastating effects of Covid-19, it has rightly opened opportunities and promise for an intelligent healthcare future. At present, many companies and startups are taking advantage of adopting AI to lower healthcare costs while increasing access to quality medical care.
Here are Some Ways that Covid-19 is Pushing AI in Healthcare
The Rise in Virtual Consultations
Telehealth visits are praised for their convenience to millions of patients and providers throughout the pandemic. However, in order to deliver the necessary results, the healthcare industry needs to know how to implement telehealth for use cases beyond the reactive video-only model they’ve grown to during the pandemic.
One solution would be, report-monitoring devices. Digital health company Eko offers AI-powered stethoscopes along with a hand-held electrocardiogram, a test that evaluates a person’s heart health. A patient can, for instance, live stream their heart and lung sounds for their doctor during a virtual visit.
With proper integration of artificial intelligence, devices like EKGs, ultrasounds, stethoscopes, and more can provide valuable data, audio, and video in live sessions. This elevated virtual approach will mean physicians can diagnose patients with more accuracy and extend care to higher-acuity patients.
Expanding Home Diagnostics Testing for Patients
The field of home diagnostics has seen significant innovation and advancement in the past few decades – and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing use of home testing kits has allowed important clinical research to progress, keeping doctors and patients safe as well as reducing medical costs.
Furthermore, AxialHealth’s also came up with an app that can be used together with home test kits. Vpass, a Covid-19 management system that allows users to track & validate Covid-19 test status. The app can help notify business owners if one of the employees are tested positive, allowing quick actions & safeguarding the business operations.
The potential is still in the early stages but it is an exciting outlook. There is a growing consensus that artificial intelligence will gradually edge out third-party laboratories, at least for certain types of tests.
Adopting Computer Vision
Computer vision has surprisingly evolved due to the pandemic. The concept is known to be a form of Artificial Intelligence, that allows computers to recognize and understand visuals, fields including physical therapy, where patients almost exclusively rely on the direction of a physical therapist, now see the promise of making virtual connections.
Some notable examples of these are, Kaia Health, a digital therapeutics company, is using computer vision for motion and posture tracking, which provides patients with real-time feedback on their exercises. And the Austin-based DentalMonitoring is providing AI-powered technology to dentists and orthodontists, which the company claims can reduce the need or frequency for in-person follow-ups.
Passive Monitoring Technology
Apple Watches and Fitbits are some of the more popular examples of wearables but it might unintentionally bring significant benefit to the healthcare industry. AI passive monitoring technology may disrupt the wearables space by bringing technology that doesn’t require patients to wear a device around the clock.
One newer approach to monitoring patients is using contactless in-home monitoring systems, which can keep track of a patient’s sleep activities and respiration with the help of a sensor. Big techs and startups are breaking ground here in passive monitoring and as this technology takes off, we’ll head toward more proactive intervention, especially in senior and acute care settings.
New Advances in Genomics
Genomics – the study of genes, and, recently, the use of technology to map individual genomes (the DNA structure of an organism, such as a person) – is particularly useful for creating personalized medicine. This is quickly leading to new treatments for serious diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research shows that nearly 6% of all infants are affected by genetic or congenital disorders, yet clinical sequencing testing can take days or weeks to diagnose these diseases. Genome sequencing has the potential to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Google Health in particular, has made significant breakthroughs in the rapid identification of genetic diseases and promoting genomic tests’ equity across ancestries.
COVID-19 took a significant toll on our lives, but it also set us on a path to be ready and proactive in case of similar afflictions in the future. As a result, we shape our tools and technologies to be compatible and flexible to cope with such issues. And just as COVID is impacting technologies, impactful technologies like AI and IoT are helping us fight this pandemic.