Just under two years ago, Ajan Reginald, the founder, CEO and thought leader behind Celixir, sat down with IntelligentHQ.com to talk about current challenges and opportunities within the healthcare industry. While Celixir’s own Heartcel was of course discussed as a cutting edge innovation in life-saving, life-altering medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in healthcare was also debated.
At the time of this 40-minute interview, Ajan Reginald was especially excited about AI in that robots could potentially edit genes and inject cells with more precision than humans. For Ajan, breakthroughs in medicine come from increased patient benefit and he certainly saw the many benefits automation would offer. When you consider that the third leading cause of patient death is hospital error, it’s hard to disagree.
But, despite the obvious benefits, there were still a number of hurdles that had to be overcome, specifically in terms of data privacy and encryption. Scientists and researchers would have to work hard to develop technology that would ensure that the right patient got the right medicine in the right dose at the right time.
The question is, have the necessary advancements been made over the last 21 months?
On Our Way to AI-Dependent Healthcare
While healthcare providers and tech companies have been investing billions into testing AI-powered tools, the scientific and medical communities are still struggling to find solutions to data and privacy concerns. But, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been significant advancements with massive potential in terms of robotic surgery and image analysis.
Not only does AI-assisted surgery have an estimated value of $40 billion according to a report from Accenture, but, given robots ability to analyse data from pre-op medical records, they could be used to guide surgeons’ instruments during surgery, leading to a 21% reduction in patients’ hospital stays. This is clearly beneficial for the patient. Of course, less time spent in the hospital equates to reduced costs for insurance companies and hospitals, too.
AI-assisted surgery has also been proven to be more effective, with five times fewer complications compared to surgeons operating alone according to a study published in The Spine Journal.
Today, robots are being used in both eye surgeries and heart surgeries. The Da Vinci, the most advanced surgical robot, successfully operated on a human eye seven months ago. As Ajan predicted, the robot was able to perform complex procedures with greater control than conventional approaches.
Up until June of 2018, image analysis was incredibly time consuming. That’s because humans were doing the analysing and it could take two hours or more to see a change in 3D medical scans.
Now, thanks to an MIT-led research team, there is a machine-learning algorithm that can analyse 3D scans up to 1,000 times faster than was previously possible. The changes are essentially studied in real time, allowing surgeons to react more quickly during operations.
AI is also expected to help improve the next generation of radiology tools. Instead of collecting tissue samples through biopsies which has the potential to cause an infection in the patient, the AI-powered tool would show images with very close registration. Currently, these tools are just being piloted.
The Future of AI in Healthcare
AI in healthcare is in its infancy. But, it’s clear that AI tools and systems can help treat patients faster and with more precision than is possible for humans. While we’re still waiting to utilise robots in providing cell therapies, we’re sure to see advancements in how AI processes and interprets data to make the application and administration of medicine easier.
For more stem cell and regenerative medicine news, keep up with Celixir’s blog.