How AI is Transforming Telehealth
As technology continues to advance, artificial intelligence (AI) has become an everyday reality. And one industry it is rapidly transforming on a large scale is healthcare. Telehealth is one of the newest industries to utilize AI widely, from the distribution of electronic medical cards to personal consultations. As telehealth expands across the US today, AI is one of the most powerful forces evolving it.
Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access and manage healthcare services remotely. This technology has been making its mark on the healthcare industry for decades, yet is now taking much bigger steps to transform how people receive healthcare.
Currently, over 90% of healthcare organizations are developing telehealth applications. Co-founder and CEO of Doctor.com, Andrei Zimiles, reports that patient adoption was up 33% this year, while funding continues to grow, and the market is expected to reach $185.6 billion by 2026.
Today, Dr. Mariea Snell, an assistant professor at Maryville University’s online MSN program, points out that telehealth has ushered the healthcare sector into the 21st century. Not only does it bring more expertise to a wider variety of areas and provide better access to specialized care, Dr. Snell also highlights that it’s practical and relatively inexpensive for patients, breaking down one of the key barriers to healthcare for millions of people. She also predicts that this is just the beginning. “Everyone who uses the healthcare industry will have a treatment plan that includes telehealth in some fashion,” she predicts in a special feature on Health Tech. “Whether through remote visits with a primary care provider, or more extensive care, such as seeing a therapist on a regular basis.”
Telehealth is a developing sector of the healthcare industry that has consistently improved and has maintained a profitable status. The increasing execution of telehealth practices with AI innovation is a good sign of the evolution of overall healthcare.
Improvement in Diagnosis
With AI’s increased application in telemedicine, it will be easier for doctors to analyze, screen, and diagnose different conditions remotely. When you merge remote checking with AI, you get good progress with less specialty labor. This is because AI can lessen hospital wait times and other processing inconveniences.
Predictive analytics can eventually help telemedicine patients discover specialists quicker, just as it already does during in-person visits. For instance, AI will have the option to direct inquiries straight to a specialist based on the results of a patient’s symptoms, rather than simply sending them to the first doctor available.
Convenience in Patient-Monitoring
AI has created endless opportunities for remotely checking on a patient’s wellbeing, while imitating face-to-face interactions between patients and doctors. This year, due to the implementation of lockdown measures, we’ve seen a decreased physical requirement for in-person consultations. AI has helped greatly in monitoring the health state of patients inside their homes.
One important aspect of monitoring patient is medication. Failure to follow medication plans, or medication non-adherence, is a huge factor in disrupted, wasted healthcare. When the VP of Healthcare Policy at Omnicell, Ken Perez, proposed AI and machine learning solutions to medication management, the probability of non-adherence in patients has decreased. It can now be more convenient for patients to fill their prescriptions by taking advantage of autonomous pharmacies.
Aid in Eldercare
Smart machines will eventually reduce costs of delivering healthcare administrations, while improving the quality of life for patients, especially the elderly. One case of this technology is eldercare-assistive robots, which are perceptive machines that move semi-independently, perform tasks, and use sensors to comprehend their surroundings.
Corinne Purtill, an AI author for TIME Magazine, talked about Stevie — a socially-assistive robot, designed to help elders by engaging with them socially and physically through games and leisure activities. Equipped with autonomous navigation, Stevie is capable of roaming around hallways of senior care homes unassisted. However, for insurance and safety reasons, Stevie never leaves the room without a handler.
Stevie can recognize voice commands such as “help me,” and if updated software gets fully integrated into a home’s IT system, it might even be able to alert staff about a patient in distress.
As telehealth continues to evolve, in the not-so-distant future we could soon be hearing “the robot will see you now.”
Article written by Casey David
Exclusively for ai4.io