Artificial intelligence has been gaining a foothold in many different industries, with a huge impact to be felt across sectors and industries. However, the place where this is most prevalent is in a market you may not expect – healthcare. Accenture Consulting put out a report recently called Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare’s New Nervous System.
This report delves into the way artificial intelligence is taking hold in the medical world. In fact, the report projects that the market for this type of AI will grow at a substantial rate of compound annual growth rate of 40% up through 2021. That would take the sector from what was about $600 million in 2014 to a new high of $6.6 billlion.
The report was authored by senior managing director, Matthew Collier, and his colleagues and speaks to many things that have already been suggested. For instance, it was already implied that healthcare would dominate AI startups, going above and beyond sales, marketing, finance, and more.
This report claims that the largest returns where healthcare AI is concerned will be in areas that are a bit unexpected. For instance, most AI deal volume at this time has been in drug discovery, medical imaging, and diagnostics. Accenture, however, suggests ten other applications that may end up making more money than either of the hot spots currently making money.
One of these things is robot assisted surgery. “Cognitive robotics can integrate information from pre-op medical records with real-time operating metrics to physically guide and enhance the physician’s instrument precision,” explain the report’s authors. “The technology incorporates data from actual surgical experiences to inform new, improved techniques and insights.” Machine learning and other forms of surgical technology can result in better outcomes and a reduction in the time a patient needs to be in the hospital. This can return up to $40 billion in value or “potential annual benefits…by 2026.”
Another aspect of AI in healthcare will probably come from virtual nursing assistance apps, which save money by letting physicians remotely assess symptoms and reduce unnecessary patient visits. This would save an amount of $20 billion in value. By spending less time and managing symptoms more efficiently, it leads to the possibility for more money to be gained for physicians and other medical providers.
Of course, there aren’t the only areas where AI will cause potential windfalls of money. Some mentioned in the report include dosage error reduction ($16 billion in value), fraud detection ($17 billion), and administrative workflow ($18 billion).
“As these, and other AI applications gain more experience in the field, their ability to learn and act will continually lead to improvements in precision, efficiency and outcomes,” say the authors of the report.
Perhaps we don’t immediately think of healthcare when artificial intelligence comes up, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Healthcare is a burgeoning field where there is money to be made. This is simply another application of that which should be considered by anyone working in AI. You never know when you’ll be the next one to discover the hardware that makes some part of the medical process obsolete and offering a huge value.