How AI Can Be Used To Optimize Healthcare Resources

Alexandra Kenney | Tuesday, October 20, 2020

How AI Can Be Used To Optimize Healthcare Resources

Have you ever stopped to think about all the different areas of modern society that could be — and already have been — improved by artificial intelligence (AI)? More specifically, have you considered the impact AI technology might have in the healthcare field?

The medical world is often considered to be one of the most advanced sectors of society. While AI already offers many benefits to both patients and healthcare workers, much of what goes on in hospitals and medical practices is still being done by hand. In many cases, this is necessary, since healthcare deals with human health and safety, and needs the guarantee of human oversight. But humans are fallible and can be inefficient in ways that modern AI technology isn’t. 

Are you interested in getting ahead of the curve when it comes to AI and healthcare? Here’s everything you need to know about how AI can optimize healthcare resources now and in the near future. 

Why AI Is Important Right Now in Healthcare — Data Analytics

Data analytics is the most promising aspect of the relationship between AI and healthcare in the short term. With thousands of hospitals all over the world attempting to stay ahead of emerging illnesses, staying connected is crucial. Some hospitals have localized data terminals and may already be conducting regional analysis on these data, but too often, hospitals have little to no coordination with one another. A major advantage of AI in medicine and healthcare is that it can predict emerging trends and store a wealth of easily accessible, historical data to learn from.

Another important aspect of AI data analytics is the evolution of cloud computing. Cloud computing enables hospitals and medical practitioners around the country or world to gain access to a centralized hub of both data and software. Today’s key providers of cloud computing are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. When implemented effectively, AI data analytics helps to eliminate communication breakdowns between different facilities or regions by integrating data resources straight away.

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is already using AI to accelerate company-wide innovation. “In terms of scaling up new technology, as an industry, we must work on moving that needle faster,” says Mary Hall Gregg, Pfizer’s vice president of business technology, research, and development. “Speed and efficiency are critical if we want to improve patients’ health and quality of life; AI allows us to move forward, faster. Without it, it will take too long to have the kind of impact we need.”

How AI Is Changing the Healthcare Workforce

The most valuable asset our healthcare system has is its personnel. No matter how automated the rest of the world becomes, the healthcare system will always rely on the expertise of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. But inadequate technology, difficult-to-manage workloads and other factors contribute to both clinician burnout and poor experiences for patients.

Ultimately, this may influence healthcare professionals to leave the field or deter prospects from entering it in the first place, which then leads to a shortage of skilled professionals in the right positions. Fortunately, AI software is changing the way organizations operate — for the better — across all industry sectors, and there is enormous scope for potential growth for AI in the healthcare field. 

For example, AI will impact human resources management by streamlining workflows and helping ensure the right amount of medical staff will always be allocated to the right areas. AI can also provide feedback data on areas of improvement in different healthcare sectors. 

AI and Healthcare HHEquipment Management

Inadequate technology is another issue both healthcare professionals often deal with. This may refer to a lack of training (or improper training), which can lead the user to use the equipment inefficiently or incorrectly. It may also refer to supply shortage, as much of the equipment used in hospitals is very expensive, which means there may be fewer devices than needed to treat every patient in a timely manner. Because of the backlog of demand for machines like MRI machines and ventilators, patients continue suffering without knowing when they will be able to receive treatment. 

AI can intervene by automatically streamlining the provision of equipment. With centralized cloud data, information about where equipment needs to be sent is also easy. For example, Pfizer uses its scientific data cloud to aggregate “real-time data from a wide variety of instruments to create algorithms that improve compound prediction.” Further, AI has played a key role in helping Pfizer focus on driving speed, efficiency and quality in its global supply chain, patient safety and other important areas.

What AI Means To the Future of the Healthcare System — Machine Learning 

Perhaps the biggest contribution AI makes to the healthcare industry is the machine learning that’s being introduced to medical software. AI applications in healthcare are now able to teach themselves to better understand their tasks. For example, we already use software to help assess the existence of cancer. With AI machine learning, a machine can begin to teach itself how to do its own job better.

This promising outlook likely has played a part in the FDA’s consideration of a lifecycle-based regulatory framework for machines that develop skills and techniques over time based on real-world learning and adaptation, “while still ensuring that the safety and effectiveness of the software as a medical device is maintained.” This would be a sharp departure from the FDA’s traditional paradigm for regulating medical devices, which was not designed for adaptive AI and machine learning technologies. 

Under regulatory measures designed for this type of technology, medical advancements would be able to occur much more quickly since machines can learn faster than humans, and can, therefore, achieve breakthroughs faster as well. Ideally, this means that machines would be able to more quickly develop vaccines, test cancer treatments and improve diagnostic techniques. With proper regulation, AI could revolutionize much of what we know about medicine within a single generation. 

Developments of AI in Healthcare Will Come From Rethinking Education and Skills

AI in healthcare is only getting started. We do not yet know all the different ways AI will develop healthcare insight and management, but the great thing about AI is that as we begin implementing it across healthcare systems and other industries, it may actually be the AI software itself that teaches us what else we can do with it. 

IT professionals who hone their skills and certifications in key IT systems can help lead the technology change in our healthcare system, innovating the way healthcare is practiced for years to come. 

Start developing the expertise you need with AI and machine learning training coursesget in touch with ExitCertified training experts to see how upskilling with the right IT qualifications can help you make a difference.