• Pre-Collegiate Global Health Review

Artificial Intelligence: How it is Taking the World of Healthcare by Storm

Sudhiksha Ramesh, Solon High School, Solon, Ohio, USA

In the world we live in, artificial intelligence (AI) is our life. It is the social media we scroll through and the internet we dive into. And through it all, AI is constantly watching and constantly changing. AI inevitably will and is already altering our healthcare through diagnostics and treatment management. However, while we may fear that AI could far surpass human tasks and facilities, this valuable technology cannot be dismissed as an implementation that can immensely revamp the efficiency and precision of how our patients are treated. This transformational technology has broadened our understanding of what medicine is, how it may evolve, and what more our medical expertise can achieve for the human race.

With the rise of medical catastrophes that have forced us to immediately address the world's most pressing medical issues, AI has already demonstrated how robust datasets can uncover patterns and relationships that can allow diagnostics to take place at a much faster pace and with a completely new perspective. For instance, neuroimaging was originally employed for machine learning in neurology, but it has more recently been utilized to employ its learning methods in linguistic feature analysis and motor function to reduce the time it takes to do these neurological clinical tests (Pyszczynski, et al., 2020). But it doesn't end with data collecting and having a large enough data set to make predictions. External elements and social determinants such as physical and social surroundings are being used by AI to produce diagnoses that are unique to each individual's background and lifestyle choices. When 40% to 50% of our health is influenced by our conduct, and 20% by physical and social environment, this might be a lot more endearing than previously thought (Braveman, 2014). These models have the potential to drastically shift the boundaries of data science and detect traits previously overlooked in medical diagnostics. Stanford University is currently working on a project that employs AI algorithms to sift through hundreds of databases to assess whether a patient is likely to develop particular genetic diseases, allowing them to treat these patients at far earlier stages of disease (Hansen, 2018). Now, the question then becomes, what more can AI accomplish in the hands of patients?

AI extends beyond medical diagnostics that are seen and studied by medical specialists; it also helps enhance the lives of individuals with impairments. It has radically changed the world into an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome. Apps like Siri, TalkBack, VoiceOver, and Google Assistant have become increasingly popular on our phones and have had a significant influence on the visually impaired. Individuals with physical limitations may utilize applications like IFTTT to link multiple apps, making it easier for those with limited dexterity to use smartphones (Brown et al., 2019). What is even more astonishing is that medical diagnoses are now being made on smartphones, rather than at a doctor's office. Smartwatches include sensors that provide actionable input to mobile apps that link to one’s doctor, allowing for diagnostic examinations and individualized medications, and this technology is still evolving. Popular smartwatches, for example, can detect the symptoms and indicators of heart disease and may even forecast diabetes cases with an accuracy of 85 percent (Buhr, 2018). When we consider what AI has already done for millions of people throughout the world, we can only imagine how many lives it will improve in the future.

Fortunately, this shift is not limited to developing countries that already have superior technologies. AI and sophisticated technology have the potential to transform the efficacy of healthcare in poor developing nations. We need roughly 6.4 million physicians to meet the health care demands of developing nations (Payerchin, 2022). Luckily, AI can address that very gap by making routine medical tests more efficient and inexpensive, delivering the same quality, if not more accurate, services to rural and underprivileged locations (2018, Singhal). Inefficiencies in healthcare have already created a deep hole in the ability to obtain some services. Those who have been denied care can now receive not just basic care, but the finest that our medical expertise has to offer via the most modern technology available today, thanks to AI.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, the sky is truly the limit. As intelligence evolves, it may take years to determine the boundaries that lie beyond the horizon. But for the time being, research will take precedence, and the world will have to wait to see what else AI can do for us.