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Current AI Trends in Healthcare

The gradual increment in the application of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare has been pretty evident in recent years. The year 2020, although unfortunately filled with chaos and the unexpected pandemic, has certainly experienced a revolutionary bloom in the healthcare sector than any of the years preceding. Over the course of the pandemic, AI has played a prominent role in the crisis and will undoubtedly continue its contribution in the years to come.

Here, we have incorporated some healthcare trends guided by Artificial Intelligence that will shape 2021

AI For Drug Discovery:

Source: Chokniti Khongchum

Drug discovery dates back to the paleolithic age (old Stone age), where people used medicinal plants as drugs. It has since evolved through discovering drugs from active ingredients to the synthesis of organic molecules in the laboratory. Scientists, today, are able to create these substances artificially and turn them into useful medicines. But since the chemical space consists of about 1060 molecules contributing to the drug development process, tailoring an efficient drug from the scratch is quite time-consuming and expensive. The discovery of a new drug takes about 10 to 15 years and has a success rate of only 10 %.

The use of AI in drug discovery helps recognize compounds and help provide a quicker validation of the drug. The involvement of AI does not only boost up the process of drug development, drug design and decision making but also boosts the process of managing clinical data for future drug designs. AI is already helping in drug discoveries, but features like drug repurposing will scale up in 2021.

During the 2020 pandemic, scientists had to design a novel and effective drug for a new disease as soon as possible. The crisis, no-doubt a modern-day terror, certainly helped them to discover new ways to scale up the process and simultaneously minimize the cost. Drug repurposing is one of them.

The most fruitful basis for the discovery of a new drug is to start with an old drug.”

– Nobel Prize-winning Pharmacologist, Sir James Black

Drug repurposing or positioning is the process of identifying new therapeutic products from old/existing/available drugs. Repurposing uses deep learning and graph representation learning to extract hidden patterns in the existing drugs and repurpose new drugs. It definitely seems like a promising use-case of AI in healthcare, which would help fight future emerging and challenging diseases like COVID-19,  chronic pancreatitis and so on.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine, the remote delivery of healthcare services, has been in practice for more than 50 years. How is it still a trend for 2021? You might ask. Well, telemedicine over time has evolved from its use during the  early days to  modern-day health service used by 74% of the people around the globe. This industry projects to be a $13 billion industry by 2023. With benefits like enhancing access, quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, telemedicine users are sure to grow more by 2021.

Telemedicine advocates in situations where the health professional on duty has little or no access to expert help; providing reassurance to both doctors and patients. The synchronous and asynchronous telemedicine types are used to reduce the digital divide between the urban and rural areas. With WHO projects like: telemedicine supporting maternal and newborn in Mongolia, Breast Cancer Screening in rural Mexican residents and many more, the face of telemedicine in rural areas will certainly change in 2021.

Wiseyak has brought a telemedicine product-Vital Online Doctor (VOD) into the market. This product is an AI-enabled web and mobile application that holds electronic medical records, thereby providing doctors and patients a seamless platform for remote virtual consultations and follow-ups. With FHIR and HL7 standards, VOD produces an interoperable report for downstream analysis \ with support for new diseases like covid19.

screenshot of Wiseyak’s Telemedicine product- Vital Online Doctor

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Source: Creativeart

The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) has touched every sector we could ever imagine. With the term ‘smart city’ going around since 2008, we could not have expected anything less in the health sector. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the use of IoT in the medical field i.e., a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health system services. Even though the term IoMT might initially scare you, they are pretty fun, easy to operate and very useful. Digital watches are a typical example that we are familiar with.

IoMT will be the next new trend in healthcare in the coming years. An expected market value of $254.2 billion by 2026 (AllTheResearch) is not a small  number, is it?

The innovation in IoMT has expanded from a digital watch to ‘smart pills’. Some digital medicine companies such as Proteus Discover and HQ’s CorTemp are focusing on  developing a pill that contains microscopic sensors, which, once swallowed, can transmit data to connected devices. Devices like these ‘smart pills’ would help revolutionize the healthcare industry assisting  doctors to monitor and visualize  patients’ internal health: such as core temperatures and well-being.

The possibilities in IoMT don’t limit themselves to smart pills. From personal energy response systems (PERS), remote patient monitoring (RPM) for the in-home segment and asset management, patient flow management, environment monitoring, and inventory management for in-hospital segments to ideas like smart inhalers and remote elderly care, IoMT has a lot of potentials to change the face of healthcare system in upcoming years. 

Precision Medicine

Source: Kjpargeter

Precision Medicine is a new approach to patient care, where  doctors select medicine according to the genetics of a patient. Let us consider a very common medical symptom, a headache. Whenever you have a headache, which medicine do you reach out to? The answer may vary from a person to another as what works to ease one’s headache might not work for another. Genetic differences are what causes this and are true for nearly every medication.

Abundant medications available in the market are “one-fits-all” medications, but they don’t work the same for everyone. This makes it difficult to predict who will benefit, who will respond or not respond at all, and who will experience the side effects. Even if we take the current COVID-19 vaccines as an example, people tend to experience different side effects due to genetic variation between the population. 

Adverse drug reactions are sometimes a significant cause of hospitalization and deaths. Many factors can contribute to the difference in how people respond to the same medication. These factors can range from different kidney functions to cigarette smoking. It now has become increasingly clear that genetics is also a key factor.

“Ability to tailor treatments of each individual according to their genetic changes one day” is the hope of precision medication. Even though the topic is new and is being extensively researched, the use of AI in genetic data analysis may bring about a revolution in precision medicine. Once successfully achieved, it can help in the care of chronic diseases of every individual and change the fate of healthcare.

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)

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Simply,  Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is a digital version of the patient’s medical records. EMRs are a systemized collection of patients’ data electronically stored and shared across different health care settings. EMRs help make an individual’s information available instantly and securely.

Technology these days has advanced and outgrown the traditional handwritten papers. Whether it be a newspaper or reports, everything is digital today because of its ease, therefore, making paper applications in healthcare is irrelevant and a handful of work.

 Developing EMR systems in the early 1970s was an onerous process, and having people implement them was grueling. Nevertheless, to say, it has since become the norm and has significantly increased globally.  An EMR, containing a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, and test results, makes accessing medical data on the patient possible via a single click. Unlike the traditional paper reports, these do not have the chance of getting lost and aid better communication between primary physicians and hospital health care providers. EMR has been a more acknowledged topic after the global COVID pandemic and has taught one the importance of EMR systems. Hence, one can easily predict that  EMRs will continue to peak  establishing it as one of the trendiest healthcare topics of 2021.

Wiseyak understands the importance of structured data and intuitive health record management in healthcare. This is why it has introduced its own EMR product. Wiseyak’s EMR is an all-inclusive solution to fundamental challenges in clinical data. The AI-powered EMR helps streamline workflow through intuitive data entry in a structured manner.  Learn more about Wiseyak’s EMR.

 As technology advances, the theories  once felt impossible are gradually coming true. 2020, a year full of turmoil and terror, has miraculously brought new possibilities and technologies to 2021. The growth of AI in the health sector has been tremendous in 2020 itself, and the potentiality that 2021 holds is beyond one’s imagination. The description incorporated above are just a few examples of AI in healthcare however the possibilities in this sector is limitless.

References

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