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How AI can Change the Future of Telemedicine

telemedicine

Artificial Intelligence and telemedicine are no more diverse. It has helped the digital health industry to emerge high from the scratch. This article outlines the various work areas of telemedicine and how Artificial Intelligence can change the life of healthcare systems even with challenges over the years.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Market and types of telemedicine
  • Present and future of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine
  • Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine
  • Final words

Introduction

When in 1955, John McCarthy came up with the name “Artificial Intelligence� who had thought one day we would be diagnosing our health through the internet to distant locations?

It was a dream by then, but not anymore. The generation has adopted telemedicine rapidly – which refers to the taking care of patients remotely, without being present physically – and the increasing demand is challenging the technology every second to grow further.

However, Artificial Intelligence(AI) is the major role player in the telemedicine and healthcare systems. To make the computers more useful in fixing health care challenges and enabling the doctors to consult patients using conferencing tools is the main objective behind Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine.

Though the work areas of Artificial Intelligence are currently limited to Tele-radiology, Telepathy, Tele-dermatology, and Tele-psychiatry, it is already empowering the telemedicine in the world through different services in terms of development and execution. Look at the below stats to understand the telemedicine in detail.

Market and Types of Telemedicine

As we discussed, in recent years the demand in telemedicine has expanded substantially, the market share has increased immensely in 2019 as it was valued at approximately USD 14.0 billion in 2014.

As the chart suggests, in 2019 the telemedicine global market was valued at some 45 billion U.S. dollars. The industry is also projected to rise to more than US$ 175 billion by 2026.

telemedicine market

In fact, various telemedicine firms are seeing a spike in simulated visits in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alone, India shares 41% of respondents who tried to reach the telemedicine services by 2018, which has increased significantly in 2020.

Many factors also contributed to the growth of the market, such as increasing chronic respiratory diseases has already increased telemedicine adoption services. Patients with suspected flu-like symptoms control multiple telemedicine systems for remote access to health-care services.

Telemedicine market that largely encompasses work areas consisting of the major types as follows.

A. Online conferencing
B. Remote surveillance
C. mHealth
D. Real-time functions

benefits of telemedicine

These services, however, are a key step forth into providing health access to all patients who are in need, especially those living in areas where local healthcare providers are limited. Moreover, telemedicine, in contrast to conventional in-person consultations, offers a major advantage with decreased prices.

Talking about the present and future of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine, it can be understood better through the following available possibilities.

Present and future of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine

1. We can interpret the large data to improve the health care systems

The world has already developed the standardized electronic health record program by Artificial Intelligence to increase the huge data of patient records. Not only that, Artificial Intelligence through computer science, often provides promising opportunities to evaluate insights and new interference to further enhance health care outcomes.

As the world currently suffers from the corona pandemic and yet to develop the vaccine, telemedicine is the biggest hope as it can identify the scope and improvement of patients through the huge data availability using Artificial Intelligence and various machine learning techniques. It also increases the accuracy of the end result through large data, unlike offline laboratory records.

2. The early detection of chronic diseases made possible

The computer-assisted diagnostic support system and software can help doctors and experts identify the early symptoms of different diseases.

It also helps to minimize the economic burden by reducing the errors and can control the overall health progression. For instance, India has developed ‘Aarogya Setu’ mobile application to connect essential health services with the people of India to track the early Coronavirus symptoms of patients. However, it is yet at a basic stage, in the immediate future the data science and telemedicine can do even better with the aid of Artificial Intelligence in the specific area.

How?

The diseases such as Coronavirus and Ebola which have no treatments and vaccines, the world of telemedicine can capture the symptoms from the patients online. Providing that information to machine learning algorithms and by training the machine learning models, we can also reduce the time to develop the vaccine.

More than that, vaccines can be developed more precisely as the availability of huge data enhances the entire development in various predictions.

3. It helps to increase the automatic assistance

Clinical industries are already taking advantage of artificial intelligence in the healthcare infrastructure and successfully combating the numerous diseases. But that’s not all. In the race to grow further, also the individuals are set to participate, as proven by Apple recently, by developing the Apple Watch that can track your heart rate and able to generate an electrocardiogram without being present in the hospital. Because not all patients need treatments, but sometimes only assistance.

Artificial Intelligence can also help in the near future to control the disease like blood sugar by evaluating large data available in the area. The computer can provide drug assistance by developing artificial algorithms in the implementation of various drugs at different levels of the patient’s blood sugar.

This is, however, just the beginning of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine as there’s a lot more to come in the near future.

But, wait. Before you conclude, there are certain questions in the pile as the challenges of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine that are as follows.

Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine

1. What if the doctors never look at the huge recorded data?

This is a serious concern. Millions around the world are wearing Apple Watches, Fitbits, and other devices capable of monitoring their heart rate and other biometrics that imply health care. But what if the doctors may not take urgent action from the novel sources of broad data, which tend to suggest an emergency?

All in vain.

Telemedicine, therefore, to grow further, must imply the community standards that can possibly be able to handle the large data for strong implementations.

2. Will AI replace the doctors?

Most probably not. Artificial Intelligence is progressing quickly, no doubt. It is, in fact, hyped over the last years in telemedicine. It has also helped the doctors to reduce clerical work such as typing huge data, that was taking more than half of their clinical time.

But, would Artificial Intelligence and machine learning be able to give value, empathy, and active listening to the patients as the doctors can?

No. It can not.

Artificial Intelligence, however, can be further enabled to listen to conversations for at least active listening, and probably render automated patient charts for doctors to evaluate. But it won’t replace the doctors, that is final.

3. Will everyone gets the benefit of AI in telemedicine?

For sure, the healthcare provisions online is still not easy for everyone, but it is believed that over the five years, it will get there.

But not for all. A lot of people might not be comfortable with digital consultations, while others may have a language gap or lack of devices.

Conclusion

If you conclude, Artificial Intelligence in telemedicine has come a long way already but still has a long way to go. AI has large capabilities to build far more effective and reliable healthcare if implemented successfully. The gradual growth of telemedicine with AI will also raise both human and animal life expectancy.

The post How AI can Change the Future of Telemedicine appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Health Healthcare telemedicine

What Will Telemedicine Look Like in 2030?

The COVID-19 crisis put telemedicine in the spotlight faster than ever thought possible. Patients are staying home, meaning nurses and doctors are using technology to administer care from a distance.

The telehealth platforms currently in use may be a bit rudimentary. The coming years, however, are poised to shake up the industry in a major way. By 2030, telehealth will have completely transformed, becoming a defining aspect of the medical industry. But what will it look like?

Things are uncertain, but a few aspects of telehealth are guaranteed to rise to prominence.

1. Greater access to products

A few years ago, the greatest factor in deciding which medicines you acquired was what your local pharmacy had in stock. Amid the industry’s digital transformation, companies are looking to the web to get people the medications they need.

While general-use digital pharmacies aren’t yet the norm, niche providers are prospering. Leading the pack is Nurx, an entirely online provider of birth control. Bolstered by its digital format, Nurx offers more than 100 different types and brands of birth control. That ensures that patients have access to the medication that’s right for them. The future of medicine is about patient choice, and telehealth gives patients more choices than ever.

2. Increased diagnosis accuracy

It may sound counterintuitive: How can diagnosis accuracy increase if patients aren’t in the office? All the same, it’s a reality of telehealth. While many technologies aren’t at peak performance, the coming years will see large-scale deployment of a number of programs to make diagnosis outside the office easy.

Research published in The Lancet showed that artificial intelligence was just as good at diagnosing patients as human doctors were — in some cases, even better. As platforms that track and record symptoms grow in sophistication and popularity, remote diagnostics will become increasingly common. Better diagnosis will allow for more specialized treatment, reduced in-person visits, and higher-quality care.

3. A focus on cost reduction

In 1960, the annual cost of healthcare for the average American was $160 — nothing compared to the nearly $11,000 it costs today. As medical expenses continue to outpace wage increases, people need ways to keep their costs as low as possible without sacrificing their well-being.

Telehealth platform eVisit reports that hospitals using their service can reduce admission numbers by 19 percent and bed usage by 25 percent. These reductions could save huge sums for hospitals; doctors’ offices stand to benefit even more. From handling an increased volume of patients to lowering overhead, telehealth can completely alter a doctor’s operating costs.

4. More specialist availability

Specialists form a crucial part of any healthcare system, providing care other doctors may be incapable of performing. Specialists, relatively small in number, book themselves months in advance. They may also be prohibitively far away from patients seeking their expertise, a dangerous combination for those in need.

Telehealth frees up doctors’ schedules by allowing them to see more on any given day. Distance is no factor when it comes to telehealth — specialists can meet with patients anywhere in the world. With the average appointment wait time at nearly a month in length, telehealth platforms are needed now more than ever.

5. The rise of wearables

Wearable health devices are already a multibillion-dollar industry. Integration with telehealth will send the industry’s growth to new heights entirely. Connective healthcare company VivaLNK found that nearly two-thirds of people would buy and use a wearable device if it meant fewer trips to the doctor.

Even now, wearables can detect unusual heart activity and other medical anomalies, but progressions in the technology mean they’ll be able to detect even more in the coming years. That will give those who want to stay out of the doctor’s office relief while staying healthy.

Just a few years ago, the idea of getting proper medical care without leaving your couch would have seemed preposterous. It’s the reality for many using telehealth today. The future of the industry isn’t entirely certain, but one thing is: Doctors will be making house calls again.

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