Rapid advances and regular new breakthroughs in the areas of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) have already changed many industries and offer the potential to completely alter the way we interact with some of them, although nowhere is it as obvious as in the case of healthcare.
Even now some of the applications of these new technologies are mindboggling – and one can but wonder what we are going to see in the years to come. In this article, we will tell about some of the healthcare startups that are at the bleeding edge of the AI revolution and what their advancements could mean for the industry and the world in general.
Healthcare is an industry that always suffers from the lack of experienced specialists – no matter how many medical professionals complete their training every year, they are incapable of satisfying the ever-growing demand. Therefore, any advancement that can free up their time and let them use it more efficiently is a godsend.
Sword Health does exactly this, offering the first AI-powered digital physical therapist. It limits the job of human specialists to developing personalized physical therapy programs for a patient – after that, they can perform the necessary exercises at home while a high-precision motion tracker checks if they have carried out the exercises correctly. This means that patients no longer have to visit hospitals for their physical therapy and specialists can help a greater number of people over the same amount of time.
Cancer is probably one of the most terrifying and difficult challenges medical science has to deal with, and one of the most problematic aspects of it is its sheer diversity. It is too broad a problem to be handled by individual doctors or even individual healthcare organizations, which means that the only way to make any progress is by uniting the efforts of the entire industry.
Flatiron Health is an EHR (electronic health record) company that made it its goal to accelerate cancer research by introducing a system that would help unify the data and make it easier to gain insights from it.
Babylon Health mostly allows patients to consult real doctors and other healthcare professionals online, via text or through video messaging.
However, it has another feature – an AI-based chatbot that already can make diagnoses and recommend treatments in simpler cases, and is being constantly perfected and advanced.
According to the company, its AI system can already do many things that previously only human doctors were able to do, and it intends to turn it into a completely self-sufficient AI general practitioner in time. It is very likely that in future we will be able to be assigned treatments without human participation at all.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no surefire method of detecting cancer on MRIs and CT scans. It is not as simple as taking a scan and getting a binary answer of "yes" or "no".
In the long run, it all comes down to a human expert taking a look at the results and deciding if what he sees looks unusual.
Arterys intends to change that with its AI-based software which uses deep learning by analyzing huge swathes of data and finding patterns that would allow oncologists to better locate, track and measure tumors. It can, therefore, provide faster, simpler and more accurate approaches to cancer recognition.
Feebris aims to improve healthcare for the most vulnerable population groups – namely, the elderly and children. It provides a special mobile application that collects data from digital stethoscopes and wearable devices, uses intelligent algorithms to analyze this information, and gleans insights from it.
By simply collecting huge amounts of information and looking for patterns in them, it allows for better diagnoses and disease prediction in people that usually suffer from it the most.
Evidation Health positions its goal as detection and singling out of everyday behavioral patterns that make for better health outcomes. In other words, it intends to make it easier to study habits – something that, on the one hand, heavily influences our life and physical condition, and on the other hand is extremely hard to track, as the healthcare industry finds out the hard way time after time.
By creating a system that will allow for better data collection in this sphere, it has all the chances of revolutionizing the way medical science works.
There are many ways in which big data can change healthcare – some of them are obvious, others we cannot imagine as of yet. Only the future will tell which approaches will turn out effective and which will have to be dropped.