Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Telemedicine

Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Telemedicine

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What is AI in healthcare?

In the past few years, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies took over the world, becoming an integral piece of modern business. The field of healthcare was no exception, steadily receiving new features that improve patient care.

Additionally, AI in medicine can also help healthcare providers by facilitating diagnostic efforts and administrative processes.

In this article, we will cover several aspects of AI’s role in healthcare and telemedicine.

Artificial Intelligence & Telehealth
AI Telemedicine in Virtual Health Services

Artificial Intelligence Against COVID-19

Ever since the pandemic outbreak, many experts have recommended using the technology of artificial intelligence to fight COVID-19.

In summary, AI was used in 6 fields to fight COVID-19, including:

  1. Early warnings and alerts
  2. Tracking and prediction
  3. Data dashboards
  4. Diagnosis and prognosis
  5. Treatments and cures
  6. Social control

While the role of AI was not that impactful during this pandemic, experts predict that this technology will play a vital role in future health crises.

The primary constraint faced by AI resides within data gathering, which was either too limited or too large. Finding a balance between data privacy, public health, and rigorous human-AI interaction will ensure that these obstacles will not be an issue anymore.

The Role of AI in Telemedicine

  • Providing Better Diagnosis

The possibility of remote diagnosis has been made possible due to the technology of telemedicine.

However, integrating AI in screening procedures and diagnostic efforts can make this process extremely efficient.

For instance, when an AI system gets embedded in the screening process, the algorithm can analyze data and compare it to previous samples to determine the severity of the condition. A classic example would be the use of AI in the diagnosis and classification of retinal images.

  • Recommending Treatments

After making the diagnosis, the next step would be providing the best possible treatment for the patient. Fortunately, AI can also help with this step by analyzing past medical records of the patient to develop the optimal therapeutic solutions that comply with him/her.

This process will significantly reduce the amount of time spent by doctors going through the patient’s medical history to find the best treatment options.

In Jupiter, Florida, a hospital is already using IBM Watson Health to recommend treatment plans for cancer patients.

  • Preventing Physician Burnout

It comes as no surprise that thousands of doctors fall victims to burnout after working long hours for a prolonged period.

The most influential factor that negatively impacts physicians’ mental health is spending too much time in front of computers to enter notes into electronic medical records (EMRs). According to reports, physicians can spend up to 40% of their time on the process of registering notes into patients’ EMRs.

Telemedicine is already helping healthcare providers to cope with burnouts. Combining this technology with AI can multiply these benefits by reducing physicians’ digital screen time and detecting early signs of burnout.

  • Providing Better Healthcare to the Elderly

Telemedicine is usually associated with mobile devices. However, in the future, assistive reports will be involved. This will be helpful for elderly citizens by helping them move around the house, take medications, and notify authorities in case of emergencies.

With the help of AI, these robots can understand the environment, the behavior and patterns of patients, and the interior settings of homes. Thus, it can train itself using machine learning to provide support for patients.

We should note that this is not a futuristic fantasy; the Japanese government is already funding the research to develop AI robots for elderly assistance.

Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in Telemedicine

Financial Issues

Many healthcare institutions and providers cite financial challenges as the number one obstacle that obstructs the integration of AI in healthcare and telemedicine.

The IT director of one 500-plus bed organization states in an interview that, “The funding is an issue because dollars are hard to come by, and sometimes it’s hard to show a return on investment with something like this. Funding is sort of pivotal because that’s what drives the ability from a technology perspective and a resource perspective.”

Lack of Technical Expertise

The lack of technical expertise in dealing with telemedicine software, artificial intelligence, and machine learning is another challenge that is slowing down the progression of this technology.

The same IT director who commented about the financial challenges facing AI in healthcare also said: “Right now, we lack data scientists to get in there and be the brains and set a lot of this [AI] up. As a result of our limited resources, we are in a position where we’re relying on vendors to provide some of that for us, but it’s something we want to bring in-house, long-term.”

Existing Technology Infrastructure Inadequate

The third challenge that AI faces in telemedicine is the lack of adequate infrastructure. There’s lots of work needed on the side of infrastructure to prepare healthcare for the integration of AI.

The next couple of years will be crucial to conduct this process, especially with all the hype and interest of gigantic cooperations in healthcare. These companies already have AI technology; therefore, all they need to do is integrate it into healthcare and telemedicine.

Also ReadCommon challenges of telemedicine in healthcare

Of course, this is easier said than done, but it will be worth the effort.

Takeaway Message

Artificial intelligence uses various technologies to promote healthcare and telemedicine, including machine learning and the internet of things.

We hope that this article managed to highlight the role of artificial intelligence in medicine and the vast potential of this technology.

If you have any questions or concerns about AI, Business Intelligence, machine learning, telemedicine trends, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or reach out to us by clicking on this link Contact US.