Detecting cancer early with artificial intelligence
10.10.2020, Author: MyBusinessFuture
Early diagnosis of diseases and lower healthcare costs. Artificial intelligence has the potential to fundamentally change the future of medicine. However, for this to happen, the acceptance of the public is vital
Digital assistance systems are reshaping the world of medical treatment. Whether in telemedicine or in the everyday use of smart watches and fitness wristbands that measure pulse and other vital levels during sports, chronic diseases can be constantly monitored with the help of collected data sets.
The topic of digital health is indispensable today. However, doctors are confronted with a flood of data – and that is where AI comes in. For example, it makes it possible to avoid unnecessary surgery and identifies which patients are most susceptible to expensive medications. The areas of application for artificial intelligence in the health sector are numerous: from monitoring bodily functions or medication intake, to DNA analysis, to telemedicine, which is becoming increasingly important due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Early detection of diseases saves billions
Above all, however, AI should be able to do one thing in the healthcare system: save costs. More precisely, several hundred-billion Euros in Europe throughout the next ten years. “Artificial intelligence will revolutionize medicine. Up to now, we have always been faced with one goal: either to improve the quality of care or to reduce costs for the policyholders,” Michael Burkhart, health management consultant at PwC, explains. Patients would benefit directly from the fact that both are now possible at the same time.
PwC has identified three major clinical pictures that cause high costs: Dementia, childhood obesity and breast cancer. However, all three can be controlled early on with the right tools.
Dementia, for example, could be detected and treated early using AI with an accuracy of 82 to 90 percent, in order to reduce subsequent treatment costs. On the basis of health data, the risk of obesity in two-year-olds can already be read off. According to PwC, timely treatment of such cases alone could save around 90 billion euros over the next ten years. Breast cancer could not only be detected early with the help of artificial intelligence, but could also be fought. It makes it possible to predict before treatment how a patient will react to chemotherapy, for example.
Do patients trust artificial intelligence?
Public trust is crucial for the spread of AI in medicine – but this trust is split in two. According to a study conducted by the German medical journal Ärztezeitung, the majority of people would be comfortable with robots managing patient files and performing other administrative tasks. However, the surveyed group is skeptical about its use in direct patient care.
Today, software solutions already support doctors in the analysis of CT and MRI scans. The fact that artificial intelligence will also help in the fight against cancer and other diseases in the future remains a question of time and acceptance by society for the time being.