The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, famously wrote: “our need will be the real creator”. These golden words were transformed into the well-known proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention”. The year 2020 saw a major healthcare crisis that made humans all over the world realize the need for a better healthcare system. These modern needs demanded modern solutions and this is what led to a major development of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare.
Now more than ever, patients and doctors are looking towards a digital-first approach to healthcare. This system would allow the patients and the doctors to maintain a safe distance and help optimize time in urgent situations. The development of Conversational AI in the field of health and medicine as ‘Conversational Chatbots’ has become common news all over the world. Healthcare professionals globally have increased their investment in AI for healthcare in the last few years. ABI Research has predicted that spending on AI in the healthcare and pharma industries is going to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion in the next five years.
These figures and news point towards the fact that the use of conversational AI is steadily increasing in healthcare but the question remains if this technology will be able to transform healthcare as we know it. It is believed that Conversational AI has made great strides and in the coming years, it will be able to reduce the infrastructural gap in providing medical facilities, ergo making the medical processes more efficient. Here are some reasons how Conversational AI has the capability to transform Healthcare:
1. Advancement of Self Learning Algorithms
The advent of chatbots with complex self-learning algorithms has made it easier for patients to interact with them. In a Deloitte survey of 1,100 managers, in 2018, it was found that 63% of these organizations are using Machine Learning algorithms. This new Conversational AI provides intelligent, empathetic, and supportive care. Tech like this
eliminates the need for the extra workforce of nurses and care workers who can engage themselves in community services rather than focusing on one person.
2. Saving time and money on commute
Conversational AI in the form of chatbots (like in telemedicine) has eradicated the need for unnecessary hospital visits for patients. Simpler Conversational AI technology can help the patients understand their symptoms and illnesses and make decisions to avoid unnecessary commute to hospitals.
3. Cost-cutting on unnecessary treatments and tests
Experts have estimated that AI healthcare will reach around $3.6 billion globally by 2022. This technology will minimize wait and consultation times, and hospital readmissions by connecting the patients with the right healthcare providers by understanding their conditions. This information will help in suggesting better treatments to the patients without visiting the doctor personally.
4. Easy access to doctors in urgent situations
Conversational AI has become capable enough to collect all the necessary patient information and provide it to the doctor immediately and accurately. In urgent situations, such information is sent to the doctor using a messaging interface. A study of patients at risk for stroke used AI to put in the details of their symptoms that helped in early
detection and informing the doctors urgently. The detection alert was 87.6% accurate. This will help in making priority-based decisions for the doctors.
Combining the best of both worlds
It is important to distinguish that healthcare transformation using Conversational AI should not be confused with the replacement of doctors, nurses, and care workers with Artificial Intelligence. It is to be considered as making an effective working combination between the efficiency of AI and the personal touch of the doctors and care workers. The importance of a doctor’s expertise cannot be replaced with algorithms and robotics. Delicate testing procedures require a personal touch by an expert.
Although a lot of hospitals have begun to promote digital humans as digital assistants that are capable of providing empathetic, intelligent, day and night aid to the patients who don’t require sensitive care but a little aid for their well-being. These initiatives give a stronger hope to the AI world is revolutionizing and transforming healthcare.
We can conclude the conversation on two levels: short-term and long-term. At the short-term level, the developments in Conversational AI have and will be leading to an effective partnership between digital assistants and health care professionals. A partnership like this will help in promoting sustainable healthcare systems that will help in the welfare of all. At the long-term level, continuous progress in AI technology will eventually lead to a complete revolution of healthcare where AI will conduct the most tasks in the field of health and medicine.
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