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Health & Pharma

How AI and blockchain combine to improve healthcare

by Max Smolaks
Article Image

by Hash Arora 21 October 2019

Years after the arrival
of Industry 4.0, there is barely any field thatís not deploying solutions based
on technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT and blockchain.
Healthcare is certainly no exception; in this article we will look at some examples
of how AI and blockchain are used to capture and analyze data in the healthcare
industry.

Blockchain in healthcare

  • Medical records access

One of the challenges with
medical records today is that they are not always available for medical
professionals to access. Most of the time, when talking about a patientís
medical history, your doctor will have to consult with your previous healthcare
providers. This can be time-consuming and wasteful - however blockchain is able
to fix this problem. Having all the patientís data available in a single
database, always available to both patients and doctors, will certainly prove
to be useful.

  • Medical credential tracking

Some companies are already
making all records of healthcare professionals accessible using blockchain. Through
the blockchain, you can verify credentials and track the professional history
of medical staff. This can help with background verification and simplify the
hiring process.

  • Payments through crypto

We canít talk about
blockchain and not mention cryptocurrencies. With crypto, you remove any middlemen
in your financial transaction, and hence reduce the opportunity for fraud. Cryptocurrencies
can also help improve payment tracking and protect your finances against
hackers.

  • Drug trials

The purpose of drug
trials is to conduct experiments on a small group of subjects to ensure that new
medicines, devices and procedures can be safely scaled. Blockchain and data
analytics play a major role in such experiments. The research is conducted by
gathering and then analysing large datasets -blockchain helps by storing this
data as smart contracts and then making it available whenever it is needed.

AI in healthcare

  • AI doctors

Yup, you read that right:
although not very popular yet, AI doctors are already a reality. Though
currently the purpose of the AI agents is primarily to assist real doctors, it
wonít be long before the machines can completely replace them.

  • Robo dentists

A machine replacing a brain surgeon might be a concept from the far future, however there are robot dentists available today that are capable of functioning completely on their own. Considering that there is a shortage of dentists in many parts of the world, this is certainly a useful alternative. In fact, in some procedures such as teeth implants, the AI can do a much better job than humans.

  • Non-adherence to prescriptions

This is not a
challenge that is often addressed, or even discussed - a significant number of
patients end up not following the instructions given to them by their doctors
regarding medication. Some developers are trying to address this challenge
through data. By simply understanding the profile of the people who are not
adhering to guidelines, AI algorithms are able to track who has the highest
chances of defaulting and take measures to remind them to take their medication
on time.

Converging AI and blockchain

Blockchain and AI are two of the most promising and exciting trends in technology today. The development of AI is dependent on data,?and blockchain is the technology that allows for the encrypted data to be stored in a reliable, distributed ledger. Blockchain can make data more coherent and understandable, helping trace and determine the logic behind the algorithmic decision-making process.

One of the biggest challenges faced by these technologies today is that people donít really understand them. To most of the public, AI and blockchain are nothing more than buzzwords. However, it is believed that 90 percent of the worldís data was generated in the last 2-3 years and now PwC predicts that by 2030, AI will add up to $15.7 trillion to the world economy. For us to be a part of this change, we must also understand how these technologies can disrupt industries and how they can be incorporated into a business.


Harsh Arora is a proud
father of four rescued dogs and one 
leopard gecko. Besides being
a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and a
massage expert who is skilled in using a 
massage gun.

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