by Hash Arora 21 October 2019
Years after the arrival of Industry 4.0, there is barely any field that’s 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 patient’s 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 patient’s 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 can’t 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 won’t 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 don’t 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 world’s 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.