Artificial intelligence in medicine: what innovations does it bring? Benefits, challenges and examples

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It’s becoming increasingly evident how artificial intelligence in medicine is revolutionising the diagnosis, treatment and control of diseases: the use of increasingly sophisticated technologies opens the way to extraordinary possibilities.

Read on to find out how AI is changing the world of medicine. Read more!

Table of contents

What are the areas of artificial intelligence in medicine?

Assisted diagnosis is where AI is making a difference. Already today, machine learning algorithms train on large collections of medical images such as X-rays, MRIs and tomographies to recognise abnormalities with impressive accuracy.

AI can now diagnose tumours, fractures and other diseases with an accuracy that exceeds that of human radiologists. Here are some medical innovations that AI brings:

1. Personalised medicine

AI analyses genetic and clinical data of patients to create tailor-made therapies: it’s called personalised medicine and can improve treatments by limiting their side effects.

2. Continuous monitoring of vital parameters

AI can continuously monitor vital parameters and anticipate crises. Wearable devices and mobile apps, based on artificial intelligence algorithms, can issue alarm signals, facilitate rapid intervention and decrease hospital admissions.

3. Robotic surgery

Robots, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, use AI to help surgeons operate. They are very precise and stable robots that can reduce complications and promote faster recovery of patients.

Case study: IBM's SaaS Watson for Oncology

IBM‘s Watson for Oncology is an example of how AI is changing medicine. It’s a software as a service (SaaS) that uses AI to examine a lot of data and suggest cures for cancer.

Several hospitals around the world use Watson for Oncology. In the Manipal hospital in India, for example, it has helped diagnose and treat cancer. Doctors said the robot has found new treatment options, improving treatment and patient survival.

Artificial intelligence in medicine benefits

AI has the great advantage of processing huge amounts of data (big data) in a very short time, increasing the accuracy of diagnoses and speeding up choices; this makes it particularly effective during emergencies, where every second is precious.

Timely treatment of chronic diseases also reduces the costs of lengthy treatments and improves patients’ lives. Finally, AI can make medical care more accessible, especially where doctors and nurses are lacking, such as in rural areas or developing countries.

Challenges and opportunities

The use of AI in medicine requires appropriate regulation, which is why agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Europe are developing guidelines to ensure the safety and efficacy of AI-based medical devices.

The process, however, is complicated and constantly being updated. An important aspect will be the transparency of the AI algorithms: many systems are like ‘black boxes‘, which do not allow their decision-making mechanisms to be understood.

To fully realise the possibilities of AI, it will therefore be necessary to harmonise it with the clinical processes already in place by training medical staff in the use of new technologies.

Another big issue is the replacement of human roles by AI. The most sceptical believe that AI should be seen more as a supplement, a resource, than as a substitute for clinical judgement. We shall see.

What will be the future of artificial intelligence in medicine?

The future of artificial intelligence in medicine rests on research and development (R&D): new discoveries in machine learning, deep learning and quantum computing expand the potential of AI, but to implement them, interdisciplinary collaborations between scientists, engineers, physicians and researchers are needed, leading to innovative solutions capable of solving the most pressing challenges in medicine.

Artificial intelligence in medicine is one of the most important innovations. Its applications are already changing the way diseases are diagnosed, treated and managed, making treatment more precise, faster and more accessible.

AI in medicine has great potential but requires the collaboration of all parties involved so that it is used responsibly, fairly and to the benefit of patients.

AI can profoundly change the healthcare sector, making medical care more personalised. With a robust regulatory framework, clear decision-making processes and constant training, AI can be an excellent ally for patient care and especially for enhancing, not replacing, clinical judgement.

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