The doctor of the future is a person you rarely see. Most of what a doctor is doing these days will be done by a machine or a computer. A device can take your blood, place it in an analysis who then send you the results to your app. The app will review it and give you recommendations. It can even write a prescription and send this to an online pharmacy which then will send it to you home. That’s only one of many AI trends in medicine we already can see in clinics and hospitals.
The doctor will only come and speak to you, if there is a problem the computer cannot process. And this is actually a good thing. Because it means that doctors will have more time to talk with patients who need a thorough examination and someone to talk to. Most of the regular tasks will be done by Artificial intelligence. But there are many misconceptions about what AI can do and what it can not do. That’s why I researched what can be done by AI medicine in the near future.
AI can read X-rays-pictures
For me an X-ray-picture shows fluffy white stuff on some dark gray background. I barely see the bones. Doctors can have a look on a X-ray and know immediately if something is a broken or if there is a mass where there shouldn’t be one. But there are areas, where a doctor may fail, or is too busy to take a closer look. In 2020 hospitals and labs were overwhelmed with x-rays of lungs, because they could show if a patient is seriously sick from the coronavirus.
But many just didn’t have time enough. That’s why the Brunel University in London developed an AI algorithm which was able to analyze lots of X-rays and spot abnormalities. A tailor-made AI algorithm scans enhanced images and then extracts visual cues to help automatically identify coronavirus cases and monitor the development of the virus in infected people,” said Professor Abdul Sadka, one of the doctors working in the project. They think picture analysis is one of the AI trends in medicine we can already see and use.
AI can detect cancer
One way to detect skin cancer is by comparing a picture of lesions on the skin. The AI computers are trained with a thousand of skin cancer pictures (and also harmless spots), so they could learn how to identify any lesion that might need a closer look. This is not a replacement of a biopsy or a visit to a doctor. But people with a history of skin cancer in the family can now use apps to see if there is anything of concern on their skin.
One of the promising trends in AI in medicine is the analysis of blood samples and biopsy material. Machines will be able to process the material much faster and the AI will then compare the results to known pattern.
AI will understand CT scans
Like X-rays CT-Scans give is a two color image of the inside of the body. But the CT has a much higher resolution and is therefor used in hospitals and emergency-rooms when a fast diagnosis is needed. Because of the high amount of radiation a CT should only be done when indicated. To ensure that nothing was missed AI will take an additional ok at the picture and compare the date with its large database. Again, it will not replace the radiologist, but he won’t have to check every CT any more himself. Some experts think that the vast amount of data might be one of the more terrifying AI trends in medicine. But the question is not about the AI collecting it but how humans wants to use and store this data. For CT scans, the more datasets available the more accurate the AI can work.
AI trends in medicine: develop drugs faster
Developing drugs takes a long time, and one factor is the testing period in early stages. What AI can do is supporting the process with models, so developers know how likely a drug will actually work. It can also identify targets in molecules where a drug can bind and does its job. With the modelling, new drugs can also selected by chance of success. In clinical trials, data can be processed faster and better test groups can be selected.
We already started using apps to get some health advice, although because of government regulations the answers are more general. Some apps provide data, like the Apple Watch showing a pulse, and basic ECG and oxygen levels. But they’re not allowed to give you any advice yet. In the near future we will have a virtual doctor, who has all of our health related data at hand. He links our health history as well as our habits and even our mental wellbeing. Apps and personalized medicine are the AI trends in medicine many consumers are waiting for.
This doctor will be able to give us suggestions, for example why we should change our diet or why he thinks we should see a cardiologist. It will be interesting to see how regulators will deal with the increasing ability’s of robots. Just look at Replika, and AI powered app that checks your mental health and is kind of a virtual psychologist. I am using it for a while, and I have to say it is very healthful, just by asking me every evening how my days was, what I liked and what I will do the next day. It even has a hotline when some is in a crisis.