min read
08/01/2024

The Rise of Autonomous Healthcare: Exploring the Impact of AI in Healthcare

Autonomous healthcare has made some remarkable technical advancements in the last years, aiding not only healthcare providers but also patients to receive the most accurate treatment possible. In this article, we dive into what exactly autonomous healthcare means and how it affects modern medical care.

Introduction

The great impact that technological advances have had in the field of autonomous healthcare has been remarkable. It has been reflected in patient care, ranging from better and more accurate diagnoses to more effective clinical treatments.

This has made the use of technological tools indispensable in the healthcare sector, and at the same time has encouraged to reconsider the traditional practice, changing the way in which societies are accustomed to receiving medical care. Because of this, the term “autonomous healthcare” has been introduced, giving a new orientation to medical services.

What does autonomous healthcare mean?

Autonomous healthcare refers to the integration of autonomous systems and technologies in health and care settings, allowing these systems to perform tasks and make decisions with minimal or no human supervision. 

These medical services are starting from a new model to provide medical care that aims to transform the way in which care is provided. At the same time, this helps to decrease geographical barriers through systems that promote mobile care, bringing solutions to patients, without waiting for them to approach to clinical centers.

This also includes online primary care, which avoids the displacement of patients, allowing the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases in any place and at any time, where technology and medical AI play a key role in its execution.

Automation and Autonomous Healthcare

The integration of automation and autonomous systems in healthcare marks a transformative shift, revolutionizing patient care, diagnostics, and administrative processes. Automated technologies streamline routine tasks, enhancing efficiency and reducing the margin for error. In computer aided diagnostics, autonomous healthcare systems leverage artificial intelligence to analyze vast datasets, leading to more accurate and timely diagnosis. 

However, ethical considerations and the need for human oversight persist. The evolving landscape of automation in autonomous healthcare needs ongoing dialogue to strike a balance between technological advancement and preserving the essential human touch in medical practice.

What is medical AI?

Medical AI refers to the application of AI techniques and technologies in the field of medicine and healthcare. It involves the development and use of algorithms, machine learning, and other AI methodologies to analyze medical data, assist in clinical decision-making, and improve overall patient care. 

Thus, medical AI involves the utilization of diverse computer systems that process data through algorithms. The primary goal is to enhance the quality of care provided by medical services, ultimately optimizing the patient experience.

Here are some examples where medical AI has had great relevance:

  • Medical data analysis: utilizing AI facilitates the swift and efficient analysis of straightforward medical data, leading to enhancements in healthcare, its procedures, and protocols.
  • Intelligent analysis of medical images: medical imaging such as radiology, CT scans, ultrasound scans, mammograms, etc, is analyzed in a broader and faster way. This allows the extraction of the most important characteristics for interpretation, diagnosis, and more effective decision-making, in addition to saving time and resources.
  • Medical diagnoses: because of AI’s capacity to analyze vast amounts of information in a short time, the accuracy and improvement of diagnoses, as well as the reduction of human error are improved.
  • Treatments: AI technology is capable of making predictions that reflect a high level of clinical knowledge, identifying adverse reactions, and monitoring compliance with treatments.
  • Genetics: there are currently AI algorithms that predict genetic diseases or disorders, as they allow the analysis of the genome of the human organism and the rapid identification of suspected genetic conditions for interpretation.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: AI enhances prenatal diagnosis accuracy, identifying potential issues like congenital heart defects and gestational diabetes. It improves fetal health monitoring through advanced ultrasound analysis and data-driven insights from extensive datasets.
  • AI-based prostheses: these systems seek to restore mobility and independence to patients by learning movement patterns as needed.

Automated clinical coding: according to the NPJ Digital Medicine Journal, it is transforming medical information in a patient’s health records into structured codes so that they can be used for statistical analysis.

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How is AI used in healthcare?

Before AI: How healthcare used to work

The early days of healthcare had limitations for data analysis and mostly involved conventional manual diagnostics. It was typical that healthcare specialists were forced to use very traditional methods that did not always permit diagnostics at once or with certain accuracy. 

There was limited opportunity for comprehensive analyses of data since every patient’s information was handled manually. As relying on manual procedures consumed much time, it could pose errors in diagnosis as well as the planning for the treatment. The lack of advanced technology prevented the healthcare system from leveraging on data and deriving such precise observations. Healthcare practices before the advent of artificial intelligence were largely sluggish and not much dependent on real-time data compared to what exists nowadays.

After AI: How does healthcare work with AI?

According to a special edition on artificial intelligence of Harvard, one of the pioneers in the conception of artificial intelligence, or at least its basic idea, was Alan Turing with his Computing Machinery and Intelligence paper in 1950. Then, the term was officially unveiled in 1955 by Allen Newell, Cliff Shaw, and Herbert Simon, Logic Theorist, which was, for many, the first-ever artificial intelligence program.

By 1972, a Medical Artificial Intelligence (IAM) called Mycin appeared, which used a system capable of detecting diseases in the blood. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until the 90’s that the integration of the MAI with clinical information systems was considered.

AI has revolutionized the healthcare sector. It has become a technological tool capable of supporting, backing up, and complementing the capabilities of healthcare professionals and medical services. This means solving problems and coming up with more precise solutions in less time, which is considered a decisive and primary factor in terms of people’s health and well-being. Without the contributions of AI in medicine, its methods would be more complex, slower, and less accurate.

What do medical professionals think?

According to an investigation published in the Journal Elsevier, focused on exploring different points of view of doctors on artificial intelligence, the perspective on the use of AI in medical care has been positive, as they consider it a useful tool. 

In this regard, one of the physicians interviewed believes that the main goal of AI is to optimize time on certain tasks to allow physicians to work on skills and activities of greater relevance, noting that the purpose of AI should “allow physicians to do what they were trained to do: medicine, and alleviate many of the potentially automatic and slow processes they must deal with on a daily basis.” 

In this research, physicians highlight the innumerable benefits of process automation and autonomous healthcare thanks to AI, In this research, physicians highlight the innumerable benefits of process automation thanks to AI. Additionally, there is an emphasis on its use as a complementary tool to autonomous healthcare, involving the supervision and intervention of medical staff in making transcendental decisions.

Conclusion

Technological advancements in autonomous healthcare have drastically transformed patient care, introducing more accurate diagnoses and effective clinical treatments. The emergence of autonomous healthcare has revolutionized traditional medical practices, fostering new ways of delivering medical care and reducing geographical barriers with mobile care solutions. This shift to online primary care has enabled health promotion and disease prevention at any time and place, with technology and medical AI playing a crucial role.

Autonomous healthcare systems, integrating autonomous technologies, operate with minimal human supervision, enhancing efficiency and accuracy in diagnostics and administrative processes. Despite these advancements, the balance between automation and the human element in healthcare remains a pivotal consideration.

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