Telemedicine, the new age of Healthcare

Olivia Brookhouse    17 January, 2020

Healthcare always seems to lag behind other consumer technology, lacking innovation and remaining inefficient. This is partially due to regulatory restriction but also an unwillingness to adapt and innovate by healthcare professionals. Telemedicine is starting to infiltrate this industry, providing remote care via mobile phones and diagnosing diseases using Artificial Intelligence. If intelligent speakers can tell us how to bake a cake, why can’t they tell us how to get better?

The core aim of Telemedicine is to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible all over the world, to work in harmony with doctors and subsidise the areas where there are healthcare shortages.

AI Chatbots for primary care

Telemedicine start-ups are changing the game in areas where healthcare is hard to access and very expensive. In India, for every 1,000 citizens, there is only 1 doctor but 700 mobile phones. Instead of investing in expensive infrastructure, companies are taking advantage of the infrastructure we already have in our pockets, our phones.

Artificial Intelligence applications, such as Babylon’s interactive symptom checker, which has been developed by qualified doctors and computer scientists using deep learning. The chatbot provides a platform to establish a likely diagnosis and build a digital twin of your health profile, all from the comfort of your mobile phone.

  • The system will then automatically put you in touch with a specialist within 24 hours via a video call to discuss the symptoms further.
  • Using Natural language processing, the system can scribe the conversation, suggesting further questions to ask, possible causes and treatments.

AI is not a threat to the medical profession; it just became the best assistant

Remote patient monitoring

In 2020, experts believe we will start to see the introduction of remote patient monitoring (RPM), thanks to hospital at home devices. This will help monitor chronic conditions and elderly patients to support their in-person care. Wearable IoT devices can monitor heart rate and blood pressure, sending data in real time to healthcare providers.

In the future we can expect to see the introduction of IoT ingestible devices to provide highly accurate data on patient’s insulin levels for diabetics, vitals levels, active infections etc. They currently face many challenges to ensure ingestible are safe to ingest and can continue functioning without losing charge or breaking within the human body.

Applications for diagnosis and treatment

We have also started to see the incorporation of AI software within hospitals to improve the accuracy of diagnosis. Just a few days ago, Googles DeepMind AI software was able to identify breast cancer more accurately than radiologists proving that doctors must start incorporating these Artificial Intelligence technologies into their practices or fall behind. Allowing AI to automate laborious processes, means doctors can focus more on care advice and treatment.

 The human like qualities that doctors provide; reassurance, care and empathy cannot be replicated by an app.

Telesurgery

The technology enables expert surgeons to operate from the other side of the world with highly intelligent robotics connected to the internet.

5G is expected to accelerate the capabilities in telesurgery as it relies on extremely fast internet speed to provide accurate haptic feedback. If there is even a slight delay in what the remote surgeon can feel via the robot hands, there is a high chance of error. It is expected to reduce the second latency period from 0.27 to 0.01 seconds!

The next decade promises exciting things for the development of AI, in all industries and in every part of our lives. Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss anything our series of #LUCAtothefuture. Read about the ethical issues which accompany the development of many of these technologies.

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