While the number of individuals needing quality healthcare is increasing, the number of healthcare providers is decreasing. Resultingly, more care providers are considering artificial intelligence (AI) as a possible resource for delivering precise, efficient and effective treatments. In time, artificially intelligence could expand the reach and efficiency of care providers and make up for talent shortages around the world.

The Current State of Health Care

Doctor Richard Biehl, instructor of Healthcare Systems Engineering at the University of Central Florida, discussed the doctor shortage in a recent article published on The Hill, writing that, “As the battle on Capitol Hill to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues, Americans are facing more than just a threat to their health care coverage.”

Biehl goes on to explain that, “The current administration’s plan to repeal and replace the ACA could end health care coverage for millions of Americans, which would worsen the provider shortage crisis.”

To help with this, healthcare providers will need to leverage artificial intelligence through a number of mediums to help bridge the gap between patients and health care providers. There are a wide array of ways AI can assist with the physician shortage, ranging from robotics to improved diagnostics. In this regard, the following passages highlight 4 ways that artificial intelligence is reshaping the future of health care.

Transformation 1: Improved Diagnostic Procedures

Many diagnostic procedures still require the collection of tissue samples and present the risks inherent to all invasive procedures. Medical experts forecast that AI technology might replace the need for biological tissue samples. The technology may give physicians the ability to characterize the properties of tumors using image-based diagnostics.

Ideally, AI technology will one day provide specialists with the same detailed information gathered from real tissue samples. With malignant tumors, for example, the technology could give specialists the ability to understand how an entire tumor affects a patient, rather than making decisions based on information discovered while evaluating only a small tissue sample.

Transformation 2: The Introduction of Brain-Computer Interfaces

The concept of using computers for communication is not new. However, scientists are trying to find ways to create direct interfaces between the human brain and computers, a breakthrough that would greatly benefit some patients. Accidents and neurological diseases can take away a patient’s ability to speak, move and interact with their environment. However, brain-computer interfaces could potentially restore these abilities in a meaningful way.

Doctors are also intrigued by the possibility of quickly restoring functionality for patients who are injured or affected by illnesses. Artificial intelligence and brain-computer interfaces might allow researchers to decipher the neural activities associated with physical functions. As a result, afflicted patients would be able to communicate immediately. Furthermore, the technology could allow patients to reclaim the ability to use common devices, such as smartphones, tablets and computers.

Transformation 3: Decreasing the Cost of Caregiving

The management consulting firm Accenture forecasts that artificial intelligence could save health care organizations $150 billion annually by the year 2026. The technology can give health care organizations the power to leverage the information generated by progressively connected medical devices and information networks. As organizations search for ways to cut costs and improve treatment outcomes, AI could prove an invaluable asset for lowering operational expenses.

The rapid growth of digital information and big data systems makes artificial intelligence a potentially important resource for extracting meaningful insights from increasingly smarter health care data networks. For instance, diagnostic technicians, virtual health aides and wellness and lifestyle consultants could one day leverage AI and wearable devices to optimize services and improve treatment outcomes. As the artificial intelligence field matures, treatment outcomes and the operational efficiency of care organizations will improve, furthering decreasing the cost to improve community health outcomes.

Transformation 4: Automation of Repetitive Tasks

As health care organizations seek ways to improve community health, such as implementing innovative care models as well as employing nurse practitioners to fulfill a forecast shortage of 100,000 physicians by the year 2026, they’re also investigating the possibilities of AI implementation in exciting ways. Eventually, AI programs will help organizations find new correlations among massive amounts of data. By allowing health care organizations to automate repetitive tasks and streamline operations in previously unforeseen ways, artificial intelligence technology could deliver a significantly positive disruption in the medical field.

Artificial intelligence will improve care providers’ ability deliver faster and more precise services. Hospitals and devices designed by medical manufacturers are generating an enormous amount of valuable and useful patient information. With AI, these enterprises will be able to harness the full potential of that data to promote better community health outcomes and improve the effectiveness of America’s health care network.