Examples of AI in Healthcare: Can Intelligent Machines Make Humans Healthier?

Yana Troianska

May 31, 2019

Health has always been one of the highest aspirations of humanity. Thanks to medical sciences and tech advancements, modern people are probably the healthiest generation ever living on Earth. On the technological side, among others, it’s artificial intelligence that disrupts the healthcare industry. AI is at the forefront of advanced approaches to medication management, treatment plans, drug production, and more. Read on to see it in action with our examples of artificial intelligence in healthcare.

AI in Healthcare: Is It Worth the Cost?

Technological achievements in healthcare are a collection of ingenious inventions and engineering masterpieces. Artificial intelligence is one of them, making patients healthier and the healthcare industry even more profitable.

Experts and researchers make very promising forecasts regarding the AI healthcare market. Various sources, including Accenture, claim that artificial intelligence for healthcare applications worldwide will bring revenues of more than $6B. On top of that, in 2025, the global market size for artificial intelligence in healthcare can reach $28B.

AI in Healthcare

Another survey by Gartner also confirms that healthcare providers will continue to invest in data science to deliver business value. It means that the number of examples of artificial intelligence in healthcare will only continue to increase.

Notable Examples of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: a Mix of Tech Courage and the Burning Desire to be Healthy

Artificial intelligence apps in healthcare show enormous potential. We’ve gathered practical examples of AI in healthcare, confirmed by the success of startups, lowered healthcare providers’ costs, and improved patient outcomes. This list is based on Accenture’s analysis and Statista’s research of the global market share for artificial intelligence apps in healthcare.

AI-Enabled Virtual Nurses for Advanced Personal Health Monitoring and Nursing Assistance

The AI virtual nurse concept means 24/7 support, quick answers about medications, and constant health monitoring. Plus, such a personal assistant will never grow tired or irritated. All these facts and the high chances of resonating with the audience make virtual nurses a top choice for tech startups.

Virtual nurses are AI-based applications and chatbots that help care providers deliver nursing assistance after patients are discharged from the hospital. Usually, this example of artificial intelligence in healthcare doesn’t require extra equipment – wearables or smartphones might be enough.

Accenture evaluates virtual nursing assistants at $20B.

Featured startups:

Artificial Intelligence Improves Surgical Outcomes

The use of artificial intelligence for surgical purposes is probably among the most complicated issues. It includes a sophisticated approach to the pre-and post-surgical activities and not a mere use of AI algorithms in app development. The way surgeons behave during an operation and the assistance they get with the equipment in an OR are partially shaped by various AI techniques. For instance, advanced analytics and machine learning help to uncover the critical insights of patient data to arm doctors before operations. Then, data gathered during every surgery can be processed and analyzed to improve future procedures.

AI-powered robots don’t underestimate the talents and remarkable endurance of surgeons by no means, but they enhance medical activities and extend human capabilities. For instance, these intelligent robots can reduce micro-trimmers if doctors have them, help follow the best surgical patterns while minimizing variations in procedures from surgeon to surgeon, and automate the less-critical procedures.

Accenture evaluates robot-assisted surgery at $40B.

Featured AI-enabled surgical robots:

  • Vicarious Surgical has raised $30M in funding over four rounds for their idea to combine virtual reality with AI-enabled robots. To minimize invasions in operations, their technology lets surgeons explore the inside of a human body with minimal surgical manipulations.
  • Among other developments, the Accuray Group has introduced the CyberKnife System, which uses robotic arms to precisely treat cancerous tumors in almost any part of the human body. Moreover, the system delivers automatic, real-time tumor tracking and motion management.

Healthcare Providers Show a Special Interest in the Use of AI for Assistance with the Administrative Workflow

Managing the clinical environment and administrative operations within medical institutions isn’t as easy as it sounds. Care providers must ensure data from multiple documents, including various reports, test results, drug prescriptions, medical equipment, and images, is properly gathered, transferred, processed, and stored. Plus, designing and ensuring flexible workflows might be another challenge. AI to the rescue.

According to McKinsey&Company, a rational data-driven approach to healthcare means up to $300B-$450B a year saved for care providers. That’s why some hospitals have already implemented this example of artificial intelligence in healthcare. This includes using voice-to-text documents for medicine prescriptions, ordering tests, and writing chart notes. The biggest aim of AI-managed workflows is to save doctors’ and nurses’ working time, assisting them with routine tasks like sorting emails and resolving the simplest organizational issues patients might have.

Accenture evaluates the administrative workflow assistance of AI in healthcare at $18B.

Featured startups:

  • Qventus, a Y Combinator and StartX company, uses AI and big data analytics to optimize hospitals operations and administrative decisions in real-time. This Silicon Valley startup has raised $45M in funding over six rounds.
  • Jvion is an example of how a healthcare technology company helps hospitals save costs and cut resource demands. Their AI-based technology identifies impactable patients and provides patient-specific recommendations, streamlining how hospitals interact with patients. Jvion has raised a total of $8.9M in funding over two rounds.

AI Boosts Fraud Detection and Cybersecurity

Sadly, the word “data” is too often followed by “breach.” Data security is critical for healthcare providers since the consequences of irresponsibility in this sphere are harsh: treatment outcomes, brand image, and financial status all might suffer. Only in the US in 2017, healthcare providers faced 477 breaches affecting 5.6M patient records. A single record affected means a blow to the hospitals’ reputation and damage to their wallets – $380 per patient – which turns into $5M per day from data breaches alone.

Integrating AI practices into hospital systems can be the answer. Namely, machine learning with behavioral modeling can help to identify malware threats and breaches. On the hardware level, AI can help with data encryption, malware monitoring, and automatic threat identification with zero dependencies on third-party providers. On top of that, AI extends human resources and minimizes human factors, leaving minimal chances for a mistake.

Accenture evaluates fraud detection and cybersecurity at nearly $19B.

Featured startups:

  • Protenus has developed a healthcare compliance analytics platform that uses AI to verify each action taken in patients records and provide real-time support to make better decisions as to the customers’ and healthcare providers’ data protection. Protenus has raised $19.4M in funding over seven rounds.
  • Cylera is an AI-driven healthcare IoT, medical device cybersecurity, and intelligence platform for healthcare organizations.

AI Becomes the Sweet Spot for the Pharmaceutical Business

Using artificial intelligence for drug development and discovery has immense opportunities to flourish. There are at least several reasons for that. First, this sphere has heaps of money to invest in AI developments or even acquire AI-related startups. Second, the industry has a pressing need to reduce-time-to the market for drugs being in trials. As you may know, it takes decades and costs billions of dollars to develop meds with all the required rounds of trials. Lastly, years spent in trials generate loads of data for AI applications.

According to one of the latest analyses, AI has the potential to create $70B in savings in the drug discovery process by 2028. AI, in general, and machine learning, in particular, is useful at preliminary stages like designing the chemical structure of drugs. Next, in preclinical and clinical trials, where tons of biomedical data is produced, artificial intelligence helps investigate drug effects. On top of that, AI in pharmaceutics can be used to understand the mechanism of diseases, validate and optimize drug candidates, repurpose existing drugs, analyze real-world data and publish clinical trial results.

Accenture evaluates the clinical trial participant identifier at $13B.

Featured startups:

  • Cyclica is a Canadian biotechnology company that uses AI to provide insight and analysis into polypharmacology and allows researchers to target identification, mechanism of drug action, lead prioritization, the elucidation of adverse effects, and drug repurposing.
  • BenevolentAI is a UK-based artificial intelligence company. It uses AI to investigate scientific research data sets, form and qualify hypotheses and generate new insights in drug discovery. BenevolentAI has raised a mind-numbing total of $202M in funding over two rounds.

Precision Medicine Needs AI to Go Mainstream

Artificial intelligence can look into the tiniest cells of the human body. It can help researchers analyze what is stored in the DNA and link it with genetics and genomics to detect individual severe diseases before the first symptoms appear. All this adds real value to the concept of precision medicine – targeted care based on individuals genes, lifestyle, and environment. Startups worldwide introduce advanced AI platforms to help scientists interpret genetic variations, understand how they lead to diseases, and analyze the impact of mutations.

The global market share for precision medicine was evaluated as 8%.

Featured startups:

  • FDNA uses AI to detect physiological patterns that help reveal disease-causing genetic variations. This startup also contributes to the worldwide genomic database to accelerate the development of precision medicine. Its total funding is valued at $35M.
  • offers blockchain-based AI to perform deep learning computations on quantified biology for predictive analytics & personal health insights. Their mission is to make precision medicine decentralized and more consumer-controlled. They have raised $12.3M in funding over four rounds.

Role of AI in Cancer Treatment

This example of artificial intelligence in healthcare is neither featured by Accenture nor in Statista’s report. Still, we believe that using data science in healthcare to fight cancer and improve the outcomes of oncological treatment is worth special mention. AI techniques can help doctors and researchers understand the very nature of cancer and find more cause-effect relations, like precision medicine. With the help of AI in general and image recognition in particular, scientists work out new approaches to categorizing cancer types. On top of that, AI-based approaches to drug development can assist in better therapeutic responses and more personalized therapeutic procedures. Not less important is the use of AI-based robots in the surgical treatment of oncological diseases.

Using AI for cancer treatment still requires thorough analysis, more studies, and real-world clinical validation. Nonetheless, we consider developments in this sphere vital for improving knowledge about cancer and how it can be controlled.

Featured startups:

  • Pathway Genomics. This startup develops various tests for early cancer detection and provides genetic information to help select the optimal medication. The company received a $40M Series E funding from the IBM Watson Group.
  • OncoStem Diagnostics is a cancer biology and cancer drug discovery company that uses artificial intelligence to discover and develop advanced tests for cancer detection and improved treatment planning. OncoStem Diagnostics has raised $7M in funding over two rounds.

Bottom Line

Even though there is still much to overcome in AI-enabled healthcare, the use of artificial intelligence in this industry is expected to flourish. As you’ve seen from the gathered examples of artificial intelligence in healthcare, this technology makes a real difference. It streamlines daily activities, simplifies the lives of medical personnel, spares time, and has immense economic value. But what’s more important, it helps save lives. Machines with AI can learn, predict and respond. Whether these machines are busy finding genetic correlations or assisting surgeons in the OR, we, humans, will benefit from our improved well-being and a completely new digital face of the healthcare system.

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