AI could increase healthcare access for patients

AI is expected to have a big impact on the way people gain access to healthcare services, according to the 2018 Health Trends report published by Stanford Medicine.

“An increase in data is fueling better algorithms, creating a virtuous cycle for the industry,” the report stated. “As analytic methods continue to improve, these approaches will have a compounding effect on the industry, in both the near- and long-term: increasing efficiency, improving predictive capabilities, enabling greater personalization, and democratizing access to this enhanced care.”

The report identified intelligent computing (AI and data analytics), data sharing and security as the “three main pillars” currently influencing the democratization of healthcare. According to the report, AI and data analytics are rapidly improving as tools to manufacture insights from healthcare data.

With the AI and machine-learning market expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, steady improvements in costs, access and quality are likely to follow, with an expectation those improvements will lead to immediate, more precise and accurate patient care. In order for that impact to be realized, the healthcare industry must fully embrace the potential of AI, while also tackling several practical and ethical challenges to ensure its safe.

“Intelligent computing and AI have the potential to be a major pillar in the democratization of healthcare, but only if the industry is prepared to address the challenges,” the report said.

This Health Trends report published by Stanford Medicine analyzed how using and sharing data will transform research, the practice of medicine and the role patients play in their own healthcare, based on existing research and data on current trends in the industry.

“We are on the cusp of something that’s never been possible before—the ability to truly democratize the practice of health care, spreading expertise without friction wherever it’s needed,” Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement. “It’s clear that we have work to do in terms of making this incredible amount of data easier to access, share and protect. But I am certain that we are advancing toward a future of care that is more preventive, predictive, personalized and precise.”