The US is the biggest global spender in healthcare but this didn’t translate to them having the best healthcare delivery system in the world. Countries like Canada and Germany; who spend less in healthcare, are doing a better job than the US.
Why more spending does not translate to better healthcare
According to an OECD estimate on wasteful spending in healthcare, 20% of global healthcare spending is wasted in administrative work such as diagnosis and choice of a treatment procedure, research, prescription, etc. This wastage leads to an increase in the cost of delivering healthcare service- a burden that is eventually borne by the patient at the receiving end.
Artificial intelligence can help reduce the cost of healthcare delivery on a global scale.
Artificial intelligence is not a robot that will replace humans and take our jobs as most people think. Instead of firing us, robots and machines are currently helping us do work better, and make sense of the massive amount of data that we collect daily.
You can learn the basics of artificial intelligence in this Wikipedia article on the subject.
5 ways AI can help reduce the cost of healthcare delivery
- In Drug research: a typical drug research program takes years and millions of dollars in spending. A lot of data collection and analysis is involved in medical research, a faster and more accurate way of using this data (than human analysis) will save research both time and resources. Humans can only handle so much data at a time. Machines, on the other hand, can handle a lot of data, with lots of data points, faster and more accurately than humans for long periods of time, identify patterns and help researchers make faster and more accurate decisions. Also, recent development in AI, has made virtual testing of drugs possible; eliminating the cost associated with physical testing.
- Evidence-based treatment: the treatment a doctor prescribed is based on his or her instinct and experience. If the treatment fails, another one is prescribed. The cost of all which is borne by the patient. With Artificial intelligence, data-driven prescriptions based on data from other similar cases and the patient’s medical details are made. This eliminates the cost of repetitive treatments.
- Population health management: Using the power of AI, large data on public health can be analyzed, and population health predictions can be made.
- Empowering patients: Chatbots provide patients with answers to their health questions in a conversational manner, just like doctors do. Patients can now stay in front of their health and help in the quick prediction of disease based on vital health data collected by the bot. This eliminates the recurring cost in consultation and provides better healthcare through early detection of diseases.
- Faster and more accurate diagnoses. Through machine learning, computers have been empowered to understand patterns faster and make more sense of photographs. This aids in the fast detection of cancer.
AI is empowering doctors and providing for the manpower deficit that has plagued the healthcare sector.
“We don’t have the number of people to provide the kind of healthcare that we need, that is were robotics and AI comes in”- CORY KIDO, CEO of Catalia Health.
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