In 2016, a study by Frost & Sullivan projected that the market for AI in healthcare would undergo a 40% percent growth rate by 2021 reaching a near 6.6 billion dollar worth. The report furthers that AI clinical support will strengthen medical image diagnosis processes and use AI solutions for hospital workflows will enhance care delivery. In fact, the report claims that AI could improve outcomes by up to 40% while reducing costs of treatment by as much as 50%.
In 2017, Babylon Health, a U.K. tech firm, raised over $60 million to develop a healthcare app that features an AI-powered chatbot on your smartphone that diagnoses illnesses. Now, partnering with NHS (National Health Services), the app allows over 1.2 million people in North London to check their symptoms through its platform. Babylon’s founder, Ali Parsa, believes that the app could reduce expenditures of NHS, as well as emergency services, by cutting down the amount of time workers spend on the phone with patients discussing medical issues.
However, Babylon Health isn’t alone. Over the past decade, more and more companies have joined the advancement of AI and digital healthcare. HealthTap, a digital health firm, has recently teamed up with Bupa, an insurance and medical services provider, to create “digital end-to-end” medical services. The AI-powered services allow patients to determine whether they need to go to a hospital immediately, access doctors through virtual visits, receive reminders about prescription medications and preserve a unified record of their medical history.
Something that was once an imaginative and far-off idea has now become the forefront of healthcare and life sciences. With the rapid commercialization of big data and machine learning, AI is set to change how the industry diagnoses and treats illness.
“AI is now disrupting how businesses operate and will change the way that organizations create real value for the customer or patient. Industries can reap huge benefits by developing cooperative models that can quickly combine businesses needs with AI tech,” said Dr. Joseph Reger, CTO, Fujitsu International.
The new AI technology is not intended to replace doctors; instead, the process of machine learning is considered to be time-saving, but it requires data to be the central element of the system. The bigger question is whether these advancements will validate digital health revolutions and highest goals: improving patients health while reducing costs.