Artificial Intelligence for Humanization and Democratization of Healthcare
Artificial intelligence (AI), a constellation of technologies that enables machines to simulate human cognitive functions and with the potential of radically transforming any industry into which it is integrated is being currently slowly deployed into the healthcare sector. The adoption of AI into healthcare will enhance the accessibility and quality of healthcare services economically. Currently, AI solutions have been deployed for the accurate and precise diagnosis of diseases, for the accelerated and efficient discovery and development of drugs, for the provision of precise therapeutic solutions and for streamlining and optimization of the various administrative healthcare workflows, documentation processes, chronic disease prevention and management procedures, insurance claim handling processes. According to IQ4I analysis, artificial intelligence in healthcare global market is expected to reach $35,323.5 million by 2027 by showing an exponential growth rate from 2020 to 2027. The soaring need to increase the efficiency and productivity of the various healthcare services and to ensure the better customer or client satisfaction is currently propelling the escalating adoption of AI into the numerous complex healthcare processes. AI solutions can effectively analyze the heterogeneous myriad multi-omics healthcare data of patients to decipher diseases, stratify the patients into sub-groups based on their genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity, detect the causal genes, quantify polygenic risk score and the possible gene-gene interactions, identify key biomarkers and thus assist the clinicians to arrive a precise and optimized diagnostic and therapeutic conclusion for the patient based on the holistic integrated virtual picture of the patient created. Thus through the integration of AI into healthcare, the conventional ‘average patient’ and symptom-driven medical approach is getting transformed to the innovative, evidence-based and advanced customized or personalized medical approach. The AI tools are of immense help in mitigating the physician burnout issues by carrying out the non-patient care-related activities efficiently and enabling the physician to deliver highly engaging, data-driven, accurate, patient-centered care. The FDA approved breast AI solution, Transpara 1.6.0 of ScreenPoint Medical (Netherlands), improves the accuracy and efficiency of radiologists while reading 3D and 2D mammograms along with a significant reduction in the reading times. AI embedded chatbots installed in several hospital websites help in empowering patients on their self-care by providing timely clinical insights to patients. The various speech recognition software or conversational AI systems, capable of loading and handling various medical, reimbursement data, support the healthcare providers efficiently and enable them to focus more effectively on patients. The pharma industry is currently harnessing the power of AI for data driven and evidence-based drug discovery and development process, to streamline their overextended drug development budgets and timelines and to bring the life saving or quality of life-enhancing therapeutic or prophylactics to the needy patients quickly. The AI tools, armed with massive varied healthcare data, increase the accessibility of analyzed healthcare insights to clinicians and empowers individuals or patients to be responsible for their health by providing the appropriate data based preventative, diagnostic or therapeutic guidance to the individuals at the right time and their convenient place or settings by overcoming the geographic or financial constraints. The various AI embedded preventative and chronic disease management solutions through the continuous monitoring of vital signs can delay or even prevent the onset of chronic diseases in high-risk individuals by guiding them through a healthier lifestyle and can prevent hospital readmissions or emergency department visits in chronic disease patients by ensuring medication adherence in these patients. AI-enhanced healthcare solutions are capable of bringing the expertise guided and data-based best medical care in the absence of a healthcare professional to every nook and corner of the world to ensure that the right person gets the right treatment and guidance at the right time. U.S. based Biofourmis’s Biovitals Analytics Engine correlates multiple vital signs with the daily activities of a heart failure patient and the correlations are used to alert physicians of changes in the patient’s vital signals from their baseline, thereby enabling timely therapeutic intervention, reduce the need for emergency department visits and decrease hospital readmissions. Medtronic’s Sugar.IQ diabetes assistant having IBM’s AI-backed predictive analytics tool, ensures better outcomes in patients by providing real-time decision supports and empowering them to control their blood glucose levels. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopted the Nuance Dragon Medical One speech recognition cloud platform of Nuance Communications Inc. to help physicians in documenting the patient care provided during the VA telehealth services from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus the various AI solutions help in humanizing the healthcare activities by enabling delivery of patient-centered, value-based healthcare services and in democratizing these value-based healthcare services by intelligently powering the virtual care sessions. The promising future of artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry is substantiated by the enormous funding raised by the various private sector AI companies for the development of innovative AI solutions and up-scaling of their existing AI-enhanced healthcare solutions, the emergence of numerous AI-based healthcare start-ups across the globe, the numerous deals made by the various kinds of healthcare organizations for leveraging the disruptive AI technology to improve their operational efficiency and ensure enhanced customer satisfaction and the persistently extending robust pipeline scenario of AI embedded healthcare solutions. According to IQ4I analysis, the funding received by approximately 200 AI-based healthcare companies during the period 2019-2020 is estimated to be ~$5,000.51 million with the majority of the funding, approximately 32.8% being aimed at the advancement or expansion of the AI-powered drug discovery platforms. The regional distribution analysis of a representative 339 healthcare AI start-ups established during the period 2010 - 2020 showed that North American region held the highest share of 57.8% of the total analyzed AI-based healthcare start-ups indicating that the region had the most favorable entrepreneurial ecosystem for AI embedded healthcare companies. Through the analysis of the key deals made between AI companies and the various types of healthcare organizations, it was evident that pharma and biotech companies leveraged AI to accelerate their drug discovery and development process efficiently, Hospitals and other healthcare settings utilized AI to improve the efficiency of their healthcare services without burdening their healthcare personnel, increase productivity and to optimize their administrative workflow while the various research institutes used AI to accelerate their biomedical research efficiently. In September 2020, Bayer AG collaborated with Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (U.S.), to leverage Recursion’s purpose-built AI guided drug discovery platform to discover and develop novel therapeutics for various fibrotic diseases. In October 2020, U.S. based Medical Center Network, Kettering Health Network adopted the Emergency Department (ED) Guidance, AI-powered computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) solution of Nuance Communications Inc. for advising and supporting the emergency room physicians at one of the earliest and most critical points of care to alleviate the burden on clinicians, improve patient safety and reduce missed diagnosis risk. The artificial intelligence in healthcare market is consolidated with few players occupying a major share of the market. The top players in artificial intelligence in healthcare global market are IBM Corporation, General Electric Company (U.S.), Microsoft Corporation (U.S.), Alphabet Inc. (U.S.), Nuance Communications Inc. (U.S.), Intel Corporation (U.S.), Medtronic PLC (Ireland), Nvidia Corporation (U.S.), Welltok Inc. (U.S.), Koninklijke Philips N.V. (The Netherlands), Babylon Health (U.K.), Recursion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (U.S.), Zebra Medical Vision, Inc. (Israel), Insilico Medicine Inc. (Hong Kong), Sensely Inc. (U.S.), Atomwise, Inc. (U.S.), Beijing Infervision Technology Co., Ltd (China) and others.