In the last century, life expectancy has doubled through innovation. Not only has innovation had a major impact on life expectancy, but also on the day-to-day workings of healthcare professionals.
One-hundred years ago a doctor would visit a patient and take notes; 50 years ago a doctor would have medical records of a patient but these would not be shared with colleagues and would require files to be physically posted if a patient changed GP surgeries. Today, a doctor can come to you and medical records will fit in the palm of their hand. In the UK, we are seeing the emergence of more online capabilities for patients to interact with their GP, while in Asia, doctors even use ‘WeChat’, e-visits and tele-health to make treating patients more effective. This innovative use of video means there’s no need for patients to travel to physical clinics for a potentially wasted appointment.
In addition to this, the development of wearables, such as watches, to record data now means that doctors can remotely monitor patients and those with chronic illness can take devices home to save on clinic visits. For instance, diabetes patients can now use smartwatches which monitor blood sugar. It is also now possible for some devices to make doctors’ appointments autonomously following the sensing of minor traumas to act as a preventative measure.
Equally, personalisation is now important within the healthcare sphere. Thanks to developments in technology and innovation, healthcare can be provided in multiple settings. The capabilities now exist for speech to be recorded by talking into a computer, as a result, there is no need for healthcare professionals to have to turn their back to a patient in order to type – ultimately meaning they can offer a better service to patients. This is an important development as until now computers have been able to capture data within healthcare but prevented an opportunity to encourage more open communication between a patient and a doctor.
While the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine is growing in importance, on average it takes 15 years for a new medical practice to become commonplace. Currently, regulatory issues, gaps in machine learning algorithms and a lack of background to providers in the healthcare space are all acting as barriers to the wider adoption of AI in healthcare. The combination of these factors means that at present only 5% of healthcare professionals are using AI technologies in hospitals.
However, there is so much potential for AI in healthcare as highlighted at our Global Summit in Boston, by Professor James Collins, Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science at MIT. During the event, Dr Collins outlined how The Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning Health at MIT is aiming to use AI to revolutionise disease prevention, detection and treatment. AI can also look to increase transparency and interoperability of machine learning tools. Within this environment, InterSystems is at the intersection of science and technology.
Alongside our partners, InterSystems is creating the future of health. As you can see, we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of AI’s capabilities within the healthcare sector, so who knows where it will take us in another 50 years’ time!