Artificial Intelligence has reshaped industries. It has helped improve business models, increased opportunities across sectors, and create a momentum of exponential progress not possible without the use of AI.
Norway made headlines on 14 January 2020 when it released its National Strategy for AI. Several key events led to this National Strategy, including:
- An incredibly in-depth report published in 2018 by the Norwegian eHealth Research Centre. The report did a deep-dive into a plethora of AI topics as related to the health sector, including machine learning, logistic regression, SLM (Supervised Learning Method), Topological Data Analysis visualisations, and multitudinous other high-level concepts showing the wide applicability of AI in the health sector.
- Norway was a signatory in the 2018 EU Declaration of cooperation on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- Several other Norwegian reports (e.g., this one) and programs released prior to the national strategy, which delved into the subject of AI and investigated its merits, possibilities and challenges.
AI in Healthtech
From cures for chronic illnesses to disease-prevention, the opportunities for AI in the health sector are truly limitless.
But AI’s use in healthtech is far from limited to treating disease itself. A key example of this was Thorgate’s personal involvement in helping develop an AI-driven solution for the Oxford-based company Healx that can sift through mountains of Big Data in an effort to assist in finding efficacious drugs for the cure of rare diseases.
If Healx’s work finds even just a modicum of success as a result of AI, it could mean the difference between life and death for millions of people currently affected by rare diseases, 50% of whom are children.
Three ways that AI can improve patient experience
1. Predictive analytics
The use of predictive analytics in healthtech is transforming the way decisions are made in the health sector. Leveraging AI’s powerful capabilities to sift through enormous stores of data allows professionals to make decisions based on conclusions impossible to arrive at without the assistance of machine-learning.
Using data science’s and AI’s risk-scoring algorithms and decision-making abilities offers significant potential to improve healthcare outcomes.
2. Virtual tools that leverage AI
Utilising virtual and home-based tools that leverage AI can make healthcare more accessible to large swathes of people. In a post-COVID world, where a trip to the doctor’s office could significantly increase one’s risk of catching or transmitting disease, AI-based tools that can be accessed online or via a healthtech device at home will be crucial to improving the state of healthcare.
Many such tools already exist, although their full potential is yet to be realised.
AI-driven virtual assistants are already helping patients with Alzheimer’s Disease to remember to take daily medications. One such tool works by recognising facial expressions and posture to determine if intervention is required.
AI is also powering dermoscopy analyses to reduce training time for medical professionals to be able to determine if a skin lesion is malignant or not through the use of AI-powered computer imaging.
Robotic-assisted therapy is also on the rise, providing everything from exoskeletons to foot orthoses and other portable assistive devices.
One extremely exciting realm of AI in healthcare is that of Robotic-Assisted Surgery.
Although still in its infancy, this field has the potential to revolutionise the medical sector on multiple levels, both increasing the potential success of highly intricate procedures as well as decreasing the overall costs for such procedures.
3. Time and cost reduction
AI reduces costs for the practitioner as well as the patient. MRI scans, for example, are both time consuming and costly. By utilising machine-learning, many scans and diagnoses can be commensurately shortened so as to reduce the overall expense of the procedure.
AI-driven medical consultations also mean that medical care can be more accessible to people who are:
- Too busy to make time to visit a clinic or physician in person.
- Frail and unable to move easily, thereby blocking their access to medical care which is not accessible in the home.
Thorgate’s experience in AI and healthtech
Thorgate’s areas of expertise are Healthtech and AI. We have worked with multiple high-tech companies, especially in Norway, in assisting them in developing AI-driven solutions that improve people’s accessibility to healthcare, as well as its overall quality.
As discussed in a recent webinar by Thorgate’s project manager Sander Mättas, the adoption of technology in healthtech can be hindered by regulatory factors. However, the COVID pandemic has caused many in the health sector to re-evaluate AI’s role in improving healthcare as well as making it more accessible.
Just as people and companies across the world have had to pivot and suddenly embrace a more digitised way of life simply to survive, so is healthcare now also looking at the need for AI and digital solutions with a sense of renewed urgency.
It is no longer a question of “if” AI will find a deep-seated home in healthtech, but when.
To find out more about the work we've done, see our case studies here