Can a new saying be, “To err is human, to perfect is machine”? Probably not going to make a huge splash in the tech community, but it is applicable to the health care industry, especially as more machines are used to help improve, and maybe one day perfect care that is provided. On the road to perfection, medical professionals have begun to see and bring into their practices AI or artificial intelligence in health care, which is designed for and with health care in mind.
The machines haven’t taken over, nor is it projected that they will, either, but health care is definitely being aided with aspects of data-driven decisions and the element that real-time information is being generated for doctors and other professionals to work from and with. The mandate from the government that changed the old way of having medical records only on hardcopy has gone the way of the dinosaur and made way for documentation to be stored digitally, and thus available for easy access and transfer as situations warrant it. Not only this, but the fact that AI can correlate the current circumstances of a patient and bring in previous patient’s information to find out what was successful, what to be wary of and improve the chances of helping that patient out more efficiently and effectively.
Many people don’t realize that patient satisfaction is now being monitored, and some health care organizations are being penalized on reimbursements if their patient satisfaction levels are consistently low. AI is probably not the first thing you might think of to help bolster satisfaction levels, but it is everything that helps to contribute to the patient’s experience that lends itself to needing AI. When a health care organization is able to work more efficiently, a patient can be seen more quickly. When processes are streamlined such that errors and duplications are eliminated, a patient isn’t subjected to needless tests or extra costs. When a patient is diagnosed quickly, treated with exacting care and isn’t readmitted to the hospital for an infection, that patient feels better emotionally and physically.
For reasons like these and many others, having artificial intelligence influencing and improving the processes in a hospital, clinic or office can make a world of difference for a patient. We all know that throughout our lives we will be in need of medical care, but if it is managed to the most simplified and straightforward manner, it makes it much easier to be a patient. This is especially important with people that have many health problems they are controlling.
Having health care insurance or some sort of health care plan is almost a necessity any more. There are hundreds of plans out there, and no two are alike in what is covered, how reimbursement should be turned in and how care is managed for a patient. Having AI to help bridge the information gap that is naturally created by all these differences helps doctors to know how best to treat their patient within their plan or to at least guide a patient in some of his or her decision-making processes. This helps to control costs directly handled by the patient, helps to mitigate the back and forth that seems to happen between hospitals and insurance companies, and also frees up other administrative staff to help the organization function better rather than focusing on paperwork.
Although, this may sound like it isn’t an AI area of interest, the ability to free up and better focus on patients for the health care professionals is what many would love to see. Government regulations and insurance observance standards are hard to meet, yet are required. If this could be done, and done to perfection with little human interaction, it would allow doctors to practice and other staff to support.
Going along with the improvement to health care delivery is overall improvement to health care outcomes, which are being improved by ways such as orthoscopic surgeries being performed by artificially intelligent machines that are able to navigate into the tiniest spaces. These less invasive and costly procedures are much more accurately being performed by machines, and have the benefit of causing less discomfort and recovery time for the patient.
It is the hope in the future that AI machines will be able to perform many if not all routine surgeries with the hopes of helping patients to heal more quickly, contract less infections, avoid human errors and provide more people the ability to get needed or even desired surgeries because the cost will be more affordable.
Surgery is one characteristics. Others include the real-time patient information, actionable data for organizational structures in efficiency, manage cast, diverse types of data and find patterns or trends within the organization that need attention.
Everything else listed above attributes to controlling costs in one form or another. This one subject is the thorn in the side of health care because the cost of care has continually risen, and doesn’t look to be under control at all. The inherent abilities of a learning machine allow artificial intelligent machines to develop necessary understanding, no matter the expertise needed, and utilizes the facts and data collected to suggest changes. Unfortunately, many areas in health care are rot with inefficiencies of the past that cannot be weeded out. As AI is employed more purposefully, and as data-driven decisions are applied within the organization and within personal care, wasteful time, energy, materials and personnel will be cut.
Overall, artificial intelligence in healthcare is not just a fad or a pipe dream that could be instituted when the time is right. AI truly is a necessary element that the health care community is beginning to draw upon more and more. As AI is able to perform more duties, and it is able to learn better from processes and data, and as more patient make the demands for AI, it will become a routine part of a medical visit or emergency. Just because we can’t see or understand all of the possibilities of AI doesn’t mean that we should discount what it can do now, and how it can help in so many respects.
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