The future of medical technology rests in the hands of artificial intelligence that…doesn’t have hands.
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Artificial intelligence has disrupted every industry under the sun and healthcare is no exception. There are countless ways in which AI is transforming medtech, which explains why the global software revenue from its top cases in healthcare will grow from $3.7 billion in 2019 to nearly $67 billion by 2027. Startups worldwide are already jumping at the opportunity to create innovations, especially with the digital needs of the post-pandemic world in mind.Artificial intelligence enhances the healthcare experience for patients and providers by providing more efficient ways to expand care capacity while meeting the high demand for virtual care. Some of the top use cases for AI in healthcare include medical-imaging analysis, medical treatment recommendations and assistance in medical diagnosis. AI also lightens the load on the administrative front by converting paperwork to digital data, automated report generation and the general management of patient records. The technology also helps reduce costs associated with healthcare management thanks to its efficiency, accuracy and scalability.Related: Medtech Nation: How Israel Is Changing the Face of Medical ProceduresSupplement to remote consultationsSince the onset of the pandemic, standard remote consultations with primary healthcare providers became the norm. While it did have its fair share of hiccups early on as patients and providers needed to get the hang of it, the remote checkups, and telemedicine, quickly became the preferred method for clinicians to see their patients and vice versa—especially for those with limited mobility. The AI component comes in with the use of medical devices at home, which feature sensors for the remote monitoring of patients. It won’t be long till we see a rise in specialist care options that similarly incorporate AI to provide a richer experience for patients that are unable to physically visit actual facilities. Enhanced data on individual patientsArtificial intelligence, combined with machine learning technology, amplifies big data. However, it also works wonders by enhancing data on individual patients for superior treatment, as seen with precision medicine, drug discovery and genomics. Related: 4 Reasons Why Health-tech Startups Struggle to Scale In the case of genomics, which is the study of all of a person’s genes (including interactions of those genes with each other and with the environment), data can be attached to individual electronic medical records, for optimized clinical decision-making throughout the lives of patients. Companies such as Emedgene are on a mission to equip healthcare and life sciences organizations that are challenged to practice precision medicine, by making genomic insights accessible to all. Emedgene’s cognitive genomics intelligence solution automatically produces insights from genomic data, reducing the time and cost of its interpretation, which would traditionally require hours of manual review and yield limited insights when solely relying on human intelligence. The need for such a solution is underscored even more when one considers the fact that there are only a few thousand geneticists worldwide and over 8,000 rare genetic diseases that require special treatment while steering clear of misdiagnoses. Most recently, Emedgene integrated its Clinical Rare Disease application into sequencing giant Illumina’s TruSight Software Suite, scaling its interpretation of genomic data for rare diseases, though the application is only one of many in Emedgene’s portfolio of AI-powered genomic interpretation solutions. There is boundless potential in store as genetic sequencing becomes readily accessible worldwide. “In the future, patients will have access to the $100 genome, making it as ubiquitous as a blood test,” says Einat Metzer, Emedgene’s Co-Founder and CEO. “This genomic data will be attached to an electronic medical record, and inform clinical decision making throughout our lives. Billions of patients across disease areas will benefit from faster diagnosis and better treatment.”Wearables for self-monitoringWearable technology has come a long way since the early days of simply counting steps, tracking heart rates and exercise habits. The market, which is expected to reach more than $27 million in 2023, up from $8 million in 2017, also features devices such as sweat meters that help diabetics monitor blood sugar level and oximeters that monitor the amount of oxygen in the blood for respiratory patients. The U.S. healthcare system alone could save close to $7 billion per year, with data stemming from health apps and wearables for preventative care.Related: Product Innovation: The Untapped Opportunity in Medical TechnologyNow is the time for entrepreneurs and healthcare providers to collaborate with innovators, and dramatically improve their products and services by incorporating AI into the process. Doing so would grant greater accessibility for more patients while boosting the quality of care provided as we collectively navigate through this bold (and strange) new world.