The future of diagnostic technology and artificial intelligence – now. Powered by Northrop Grumman

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Despite years of training and experience – and a vast wealth of medical knowledge at hand – doctors still struggle to identify certain conditions and diseases. Fortunately, the future of artificial intelligence promises to reshape diagnostic technology and help doctors finally pinpoint diseases that escape detection.

How AI Helps Diagnoses

Some of the more evasive diseases might be easier to detect with AI-based diagnostic technology that can scan thousands of medical records and analyze data that might escape the attention of tired and overworked healthcare professionals. AI can also improve the tedious process of classifying medical records.

Electronic health records potentially have unlocked information that can lead to robust diagnoses and improved health care. According to IT health news, 80.5 percent of hospitals have installed at least one basic electronic health record system.

Although patient records are largely digitized, which facilitates the transfer of data between healthcare professionals, most of this information still needs to be read by a physician. The strenuousness of the process – not to mention the role of fatigue and distraction from other pressing issues – can cause a healthcare professional to miss a symptom or misdiagnose an illness.

But as a Stanford dermatologist said The daily beast, “‘AI doesn’t get tired.'” This doctor explains how an AI algorithm “learns” to discern subtle patterns that it sees on large datasets, helping doctors diagnose patients and better understand diseases.

Make the difference

Diagnostic technology helps improve the accuracy of tumor detection. For example, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are using a machine learning model to diagnose tumors. “In this method, researchers provided information on more than 600 high-risk lesions, including details of the patient’s age and race, family history, past biopsies and pathology reports, to an intelligence artificial. In trials, this artificial intelligence was able to interpret this data so effectively that the method resulted in fewer unnecessary surgeries and specifically diagnosed more cancerous lesions, ”according to Boston Magazine.

In Washington, DC, an internist wanted a second opinion on a patient he said had rheumatoid arthritis. He posted the patient’s case to an online system called the Human Diagnosis Project, where more than 6,000 physicians can access collective perspectives to inform drug prescriptions and tests, according to Wired. The system’s natural language processing algorithms look for keywords in each case entry to direct them to specialists who can create a list of likely diagnoses and recommend treatments. The algorithms check the answers to previous cases and weight each specialist’s latest findings, combining them all into a suggested diagnosis.

AI has also piqued the interest of doctors in China, where 80,000 radiologists are required to review 1.4 billion x-ray exams each year. A system that is growing in popularity there combines image recognition and deep learning to study healthy x-rays to create a benchmark for identifying those with disturbing images, potentially reducing their workload and making a dent in the 600,000 lives lost each year to lung cancer, Forbes reported.

The future of artificial intelligence and medicine

Healthcare professionals are quick to note that AI-powered technologies strive to free them from tedious, monotonous work and are not meant to supplant human skills and empathy. They hope this diagnostic technology will complement and improve their work.

Some doctors warn that AI could create two classes of medical care, where some patients still seek care from human professionals while others will accept the diagnosis offered by an algorithm. But as with other industries that are slowly implementing AI technologies, the healthcare professional will undoubtedly balance ancient practices that rely on human experience with the best that technology can offer.

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