Little Known Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Healthcare

There’s no doubt about it – the digital revolution has begun. If that statement surprises you, you are not alone. Although it is occurring at an increasingly rapid pace, there are still many people and areas that the revolution has not reached, especially in the healthcare section.. Here is  a major reasons why -technology.

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Health data is broken down into centralized organizational silos. This sounds great in theory but the problem lies in the exchange of individual health records. Most of the time spent on individual records is the actual process of trading them between silos. In order for the exchange of health data to become useful it must:

  • be normalized into a more  uniform method
  • be collecting from every source possible
  • breaking down the obtained data with distinctive patient/provider identifiers

How is this connected to Artificial Intelligence?

If the three points mentioned above were to be successfully actualized, this means the data would be aggregated and doing such would eliminate much of the time wasted when exchanging data. Aggregated data would eradicate the need for data translation and data bridges; instead it would connect everyone to a central standard programming. It would also be used as the foundation for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

A new breed of apps can be developed  to assist useful recommendations provided by AI. Such aps will be simple to understand, use, and will be connected to the aggregated data powered by the AI analytics engines.

So, yes, the revolution has begun, but when will it pick up the pace?

 

How Can Virtual Reality Help Healthcare?

The ability to connect virtual reality technology to smartphone devices has unsurprisingly made the trend more popular than ever. For the most part, virtual reality is used by the general public for entertainment purposes by way of video game play. However, an increasing number of researchers and physicians believe virtual reality can have therapeutic uses as well. In fact, virtual reality uses in the healthcare market has grown from $525 million in 2012 to $976 million in 2017.

How is virtual reality is currently making an impact on the healthcare industry? Here are the top potential uses for virtual reality technology in healthcare:

PTSD

PTSD, also referred to Post-traumatic stress disorder, is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the United States and may very well be one of the most difficult conditions to treat. This disorder has become more widely known since 69,000 new cases were reported in 2013 from diagnosed Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Research also shows one in three people who experience any type of traumatic experience will experience PTSD. Unknown to many, PTSD disorders can be inactive for many years and be triggered by any event that makes the individual with the condition remember their traumatic experience.  

How can virtual reality help? Virtual reality can assist those who suffer from PTSD by placing them in pleasant environments and regulate the stimulus provided to them.  

Fitness

It’s no secret that much of the U.S. population is becoming more fitness conscious. There has been a significant increase in fitness apps and devices and by the looks of it, virtual  reality will have a huge impact as well. More and more people are researching and purchasing equipment that will virtually transport them to the destination of their choice for their workouts. Anyone who has ever imagined taking a jog on the beach or doing yoga in the rain forest would be better now have the ability to do so.

Quit smoking

For years, we have seen a surplus in ads that detail how bad smoking is for our planet and our individual health. While there have been products on the market such as nicotine gums, patches, and e-cigarettes virtual reality is seems to be a promising alternative.

Through the use of biofeedback, mindfulness, and psychological techniques – virtual reality can connect current smokers with non-smokers to help them bring an end to their smoking habits.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

If you’re a gamer, know a gamer, or have children who are gamers you must know of the motion sensory additive to the popular xbox 360 and xbox one devices known as the Microsoft Kinect. The original purpose of the Kinect was to allow players to interact and control gameplay without using controllers and instead rely on spoken commands and gestures. Virtual reality can transcend gameplay and help those in need of physical therapy and rehabilitation by helping them achieve their therapeutic goals without even knowing they are participating in physical therapy.  

 

Digital Health Unit to be Created by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently announced that they will be allocated funds and resources to a new centralized unit focusing on mostly on regulating medical devices. This unit will be a branch within the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The goal of this unit, in conjunction with its larger department, is to basically maintain a certain level of consistency when it comes to applying effective health policies. The functions of this digital health unit range has two main areas which are outlined below:

  • Creating software and developing assistance programs for software as medical devices or other digital health technologies before they reach the public.
  • Integrating useful metrics to track, evaluate and report pre-market health submissions.

In order to diversify the efficiency throughout this new centralized digital health unit, the FDA has confirmed that the agency will be hiring experts from the private sector instead of bringing in talent internally.

“The world of digital health has a lot of expertise that we need to supplement our organization with,” Bakul Patel, associate director of digital health in the FDA’s CDRH states. “If we had to do it all internally, then it would defeat the purpose.”

However, it will be quite difficult to hire professionals with particular expertise in complex areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cybersecurity. While the salaries for these types of positions are quite high, Patel is hesitant with regard to hiring fresh, young talent right of college.

In other words, retention an area of concern within the FDA recruitment process He is aware that this type of position at the FDA is an experience booster, making these young professionals even more marketable, leading them to leave within a few years for another opportunity.  

In this competitive market, it is possible that the above factors will make it hard for even new centralized health units to retain talent when there are a wide spectrum of incoming opportunities in the private and public sectors.

New Blood Test Could Prevent Lung Cancer Relapse

doctorWith blood tests becoming more common to detect breast cancer, it is no surprise that this type of test also has the potential of detecting the return of lung cancer after the disease has been removed from the body. Recently, researchers have reported that there is a good chance that unstable chromosomes increase the overall risk that the lung cancer will return.

This information was used by researchers at the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature to predict when the lung cancer would spread before signs were apparent in the patient.

A study conducted by the Cancer Research UK-funded TRACERx tracked the medical experiences of around one hundred patients through their diagnosis, lengthy surgeries and the post-surgery phase. The researchers paid close attention to the post-surgery phase as this could lead to either full recovery or a possible relapse with the return of cancer.

One highly important discovery from this study showed that patients with a high number of unstable chromosomes in their system had a 4x more chance of relapsing. Patients with a high number of unstable chromosomes unfortunately also had a stronger chance of dying within two years.

It is also important to note that genetically diverse tumors could become increasingly resistant to treatment in patients.

Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, the study’s lead author sheds light on why this study specifically is really important when it comes to guiding patients towards the end goal of beating lung cancer.” Jamal-Hanjani states that “Determining the relationship between diversity within tumors and patient survival is one of the primary goals of TRACERx, so to find evidence for this so early on in the study is really encouraging.

“We’ve also identified what causes lung cancer to advance, providing us with insight into the biological processes that shape the evolution of the disease,” Jamal-Hanjani also stated.