One small step for a patient, one big leap for humankind. This is how telemedicine along with artificial intelligence are transforming health care now.
We live in a strange and difficult time. The time of the novel coronavirus outbreak, global economic crisis, and collapsing healthcare systems. This way, so many governments feel deprived and so many people can’t get proper treatment in the world.
So, how should the healthcare industry cope with the growing workload and related issues? That’s where telemedicine and artificial intelligence are setting the stage.
What is Telemedicine?
Hardly did people believe that medical care could be delivered without visiting a doctor nearly one hundred years ago. But thanks to telemedicine, this bold idea has come to reality. You can be diagnosed online without going physically for a medical checkup.
So, what is telemedicine? Let’s mention here the definition provided by The World Health Organization. It’s the process of delivering health care services at a distance by using communication and information technologies to diagnose, assess, and treat patients.
The first technological breakthrough that marked the birth of telemedicine took place in the 1960s. By using television, a teleconference was held between general practitioners and psychiatric professionals at a state mental hospital. This event marked the first efforts of specialists to cooperate remotely and diagnose a patient without a physical medical checkup.
Currently, a wide range of technologies are applied to help healthcare professionals diagnose diseases remotely and provide a decent level of medical care to patients. And Artificial Intelligence is one of them!
How is AI Used in Telemedicine?
Artificial Intelligence and telemedicine go hand in hand today. The application of this technology to the healthcare system has various benefits like cost reduction, fast processing of patient records, and much more.
There are three main types of telemedicine where artificial intelligence is widely used. Patient monitoring, healthcare information technology, and telediagnosis are among them. So, let’s look at each of them in detail.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) or telemonitoring is a method of healthcare delivery that gathers patient’s data outside hospitals and medical centers and uses it to keep track of an individual’s health condition and well-being. This technology not only enables healthcare professionals to diagnose ailments remotely but also creates a bridge of transparent communication between doctors and patients.
We need more patient monitoring tools now than ever before since the novel coronavirus spreads at lightning speed. Here are some examples of them:
- Current Health is an AI-based wearable that provides real-time insights into a patient’s health on the armband. It shows heart and respiration rates, oxygen saturation, body temperature, etc.
- Orion Health, a global healthcare organization, launched a monitoring platform for healthcare providers. This patient monitoring tool helps doctors keep an eye on patients’ health conditions while they are staying at home.
- Some Thai hospitals have “ninja robots” that can take temperature from patients with COVID-19. This monitoring tool is implemented to mitigate the risk of infection among doctors.
Health Information Technology
Health information technology (HIT) provides the ability to manage and store electronic data in healthcare systems. This area includes e-prescriptions and electronic health records, helping patients meet their goals like coping with diabetes or flue.
HIT would be hard to imagine and implement without artificial intelligence. AI algorithms are used to retrieve and systemize medical data in hospitals. And this technology has much more to offer to the healthcare sector. Have a look at how AI is implemented in health information system:
- Natural language processing helps doctors categorize patient records, healthcare policies, etc.
- Neural networks are applied to store medical data and protect it against frauds.
Tele-diagnosis of Clinical Conditions
Tele-diagnosis is a clinical method of diagnosing patients remotely. There are some studies that prove the effectiveness of this approach in early diagnosis of cancer.
But how does artificial intelligence come in hand here? AI plays a highly important role in spotting the risk of cancer at an early stage when it is curable. Tele-dermatology is another area where artificial intelligence is widely used. For example, convolutional neural networks were applied to detect the possible exposure to melanoma — a severe form of skin cancer.
New Models of Medical Care with AI
The unexpected spread of the unknown viruses like COVID-19 invokes healthcare professionals to find new safer ways of curing people. And artificial intelligence doesn’t stay away from that! So, let’s discover what new models of health care this technology offers to us.
Natural language processing is rapidly progressing on the market, bringing new ways of treating patients remotely. There are various virtual online assistants or chatbots on the global market. OneRemission, Babylon Health, Florence, and many other AI-based products swing into action to provide medical assistance online.
Remote Patient Management
Remote patient management is one of the prominent examples of telemedicine technology. The undertaken quarantine measures in many countries changed a usual way of visiting a doctor. This way, remote diagnosis and storage of patient records penetrate into our lives with more efficient health monitoring measures.
Telemedicine and Coronavirus Outbreak
The blanket of the fearful unknown covered healthcare systems due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. And nobody knows how long the coronavirus pandemic will last and what measures should be taken to prevent the COVID-19 rapid spread in the world.
This way, telemedicine rises from the ashes like a phoenix to be at hand in this trying time. And the tech sector is doing great so far! By inventing new solutions, there is a silver lining in this dark tunnel.
Here are some interesting software products that are currently getting hype in telemedicine:
- AccuRx has become the flagship of video communication between general practitioners and patients in the UK.
- Mobile Telemed is a virtual urgent care system used in patients’ homes, nursing houses, schools across New York state, US.
- eVisit is a telemedicine platform that enables doctors to provide virtual screenings for COVID-19 and cure non-emergent patients.
- Vivify Health is a patient monitoring tool that helps doctors track patients’ health criteria values like heart rate, breathing patterns, body temperature, and so on.
Now you know what telemedicine and artificial intelligence hold for you in the time of the coronavirus outbreak. You can make an appointment and be diagnosed by a doctor online without leaving your house or even your coach. There is no need to go to a medical center and visit your general practitioner by yourself. Telemedicine can significantly reduce the risk of infection, offload healthcare professionals in the time of crisis and assist patients with health monitoring.
Contact LITSLINK, an app development agency, to discover how we apply AI to boost telemedicine and make products that save the lives of patients around the world.