Artificial intelligence is, no surprise, an evolving field of research and programming that is constantly churning out new tools. 

The healthcare industry is, of course, a perfect use for many of these tools: healthcare is all about trying to find a way to sort through and understand a glut of data. From all of the medical knowledge a clinician must know, sort, and use on a daily basis to rivers of patient data, financial calculations, patient enrollment, EMR computers, and insurance juggling, healthcare is in desperate need of help.

Here are five new artificial applications that could transform healthcare and make life easier for everyone in the industry.

1. AI is Automating Tedious Tasks

Constantly fighting with shortages in the labor pool, and then having to worry about the doctors and nurses you do have being bogged down with paperwork and clerical concerns? Many hospitals are suffering these problems, but they tend to be even worse for rural hospitals. 

AI is already being used to automate the more tedious or time-consuming healthcare elements, allowing humans to go back to what they’re best at: problem-solving and caring for patients. The best candidates for automation are tasks like processing and handling insurance claims, payments, and tracking down low-value payments and denials that usually might not be worth the trouble. But if an AI is taking care of that process as part of its normal duties, those small dollar amounts can add up quickly over time.

There are plenty of services that offer this kind of automation out there, and these programs are usually compatible with existing servers and medical computers. Some can automate entire processes from beginning to end, while others can be tasked with just small jobs to speed along the revenue cycle. 

2. AI is Becoming More Transparent

The Office of Science and Technology of the United States has recently added more information to their “National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan” which applies to healthcare AI specifically. 

The update to the plan outlines areas of improvement, including increasing transparency of AI operations. The idea is that AI in healthcare is unique, as the information gleaned by machine learning sometimes appears to come out of a “black box,” or a closed system. Maybe the AI can properly diagnose a patient’s disease and deliver that information right to the medical cart computer in the room. And while the doctor delivering the news to the patient has faith in it, it must be clearly explained to the patient.

If the AI algorithm is doing all of the work and spitting out data, how can a patient know how the AI came to that conclusion? The new strategy in this paper pushes for what they’re calling “explanability,” as in, a built-in method of display where, essentially, the AI “shows it work” in an easy-to-parse way. Think of this “work showing” as a series of steps, in plain language, that walk the doctor, nurse, or patient through the logical process the AI underwent to come to its conclusion.

Not only is this useful for explaining a diagnosis to a nervous patient, but it also preserves the data integrity and makes it easier to troubleshoot the data when an error is spotted. 

3. AI is Learning Language to Predict Psychosis

If you’re not familiar, psychosis is categorized as a mental disorder where the sufferer has a complete break with reality, complete with hallucinations and delusions. Psychosis is most often caused by schizophrenia, but a number of other mental conditions can more rarely produce psychosis in the afflicted.

A combined group of psychologists and researchers from Harvard University (Boston) and Emory University (Atlanta), led by psychology professor Phillip Wolf, have successfully used artificial intelligence machine learning to predict psychosis in examined individuals. 

The study participants were made up of young people who were already at-risk of potential psychosis due to related diagnoses. Their communication and language were then recorded, examined, and fed into a machine-learning algorithm. These algorithms then contrasted the participants’ vocabulary, semantic content, and other markers against the normal posts of 30,000 Reddit users.

Incredibly, using this contrasted data, the AI was able to predict which participants would later develop psychosis with 93% accuracy.

Can you imagine how helpful that kind of technology could be, not only for psychosis, but expanded with other parameters? It could potentially be used to detect suicidal language/ideation, bipolar tendencies, manic episodes, and dozens of other mental conditions that could present themselves in everyday language. 

4. The Chatbots are Coming

We’ve discussed AI chatbots in healthcare before, but a recent announcement has pushed the concept closer to the mainstream than ever before. Clinc and Olive, two giants in the AI field, have recently announced a partnership to create truly “conversational” AI chatbots for the purposes of aiding doctors and healthcare operations in general. 

These chatbots would be far more advanced than usual, says Olive, and could understand freeform language, answer questions, comprehend things like context. Some of these chatbots would be used in a customer service or patient-contact role, handling things like doctor scheduling, call forwarding, and even taking verbal messages and responding in kind. This would then free up receptionists, admin, and nurses for more important, healthcare-related tasks.

Even more impressively, Olive is claiming the chatbots could be sophisticated that they could notice errors and attempt to reach out to correct them. For instance, the AI might notice that a particular field in a patient form wasn’t filled out. It could then email or even make a phone call to the patient or doctor and ask for the missing information. Once this information is found directly from the source (eg, a human being), it would input the data and correct the error. 

The obvious benefits of such an AI are staggering: they can not only save time for all involved parties and help alleviate some of the clinician shortage, but they can also help prevent the kind of paperwork mistakes that could harm patients, doctors, and the hospital itself.

The Merits of Healthcare Automation

If you’re concerned about advanced automation eventually replacing doctors and nurses, don’t be. As in all fields, automation will, of course, have an effect on jobs that rely mostly on tedium and repetition. However, the need for advanced problem solving, high mobility, patient interaction, and empathy will never go away. What AI can do is make life easier for clinicians and patients everywhere. To learn more about the latest healthcare technology, from EMR computers to rugged medical tablets, contact Cybernet today.