If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
The elite team of engineers and medical specialists assembled by IBM's Watson Health division had the innocuous code name "Project Josephine," but its mission could not have been more urgent: to fix the artificial intelligence software at the core of the company's campaign to tackle the $7 trillion global health care market. The predicament faced by IBM officials, STAT has found, was that it could not get its software to reliably understand and analyze language in patient medical records. That was critical for the company to deliver on multimillion-dollar contracts with hospitals and drug companies. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT Plus and enjoy your first 30 days free! STAT Plus is a premium subscription that delivers daily market-moving biopharma coverage and in-depth science reporting from a team with decades of industry experience.
The majority of health care executives (91 percent) are confident they will see a return on investment (ROI) on artificial intelligence investments, although not immediately, and foresee the greatest impact of AI will be on improving health care, according to an OptumIQ survey. Most (94 percent) health care leaders responded that their organizations continue to invest in and make progress in implementing AI, with 75 percent of healthcare organizations say they are implementing AI or have plans to execute an AI strategy, based on OptumIQ's survey of 500 senior U.S. healthcare industry executives, primarily from hospitals clinics and health systems, life sciences organizations, health plans and employers. OptumIQ is the intelligence arm of data and analytics of Optum, an information and technology-enabled health services business that is part of UnitedHealth Group. While many healthcare organizations have plans, progress is mixed across sectors. Of the 75 percent who are implementing AI or have plans to execute an AI strategy, 42 percent of those organizations have a strategy but have not yet implemented it.
Alphabet's London-based AI lab DeepMind made history in 2016 when its AlphaGo software defeated a champion at the complex board game Go. On Tuesday, the company said it was handing off a seemingly much simpler software challenge: a health care app for hospital staff called Streams being tested by UK hospitals. That project and its staff will be transferred to DeepMind's much larger sister, Google. The announcement prompted an outcry from privacy researchers, which, along with legal constraints on the move, illustrating the challenges Google faces expanding its data-hungry operating style into the more sensitive business of health care. Last week, Google hired health industry veteran David Feinberg, who previously led the Pennsylvania health system Geisinger, to unify its scattered projects in the field.
Google looks to be getting a firmer hold on NHS patient data by absorbing its DeepMind Health AI lab - a leading UK health technology developer. The news has raised concerns about the privacy of NHS patient's data which is used by DeepMind and could now be commercialised by Google. DeepMind was bought by Google's parent company Alphabet for £400 million ($520m) in 2014 and up until now has maintained independence. Now the London-based lab will be sharing operations with the US-based Google Health unit. It was created after Google bought University College London spinout, DeepMind, for £400 million in 2014.
Alphabet is shuffling some of its companies around as it works to better organize the health projects that are currently spread across its subsidiaries. So going forward, DeepMind's health unit will instead exist under the Google umbrella and it will be part of the company's recently formed Google Health initiative. Specifically, DeepMind's Streams app, which physicians in the UK have used to help treat their patients, will be moving over to Google, and the Google Health team will be working on expanding the app to more regions. We're excited to announce that the team behind Streams - our app supporting doctors and nurses to deliver faster, better care to patients - will be joining Google. Google recently brought in David Feinberg to lead the new Google Health group, with the goal of organizing Alphabet's health efforts and enhancing collaborations across its subsidiaries.
Picture the scenario: a'robo-doc' Artificial Intelligence program has examined your scans, read your medical records, taken into account your habits, your genes, and crunched through global population data and the latest medical research. All this has allowed it to correctly identify an early-stage cancer long before it could ever become a true threat. All that's left is for your GP to deliver the news with skilled compassion. The doctor has ample time now, liberated by legions of automated systems that cut through a once-impossible workload. The hospital, should you ever need to attend, is now a model of efficiency with cleaners, nurses and doctors all guided by apps to wherever care is needed next.
Artificial intelligence is no longer just a futuristic technology. It is now being applied throughout the healthcare arena from imaging to triaging patients. But outside of the mainstream hospital uses the technology is also be deployed in apps, wearables and trackers. Here is five of the cutting edge ways AI is being used by health professionals today. One problem that innovators are looking to tackle with AI is paperwork.
The answer--all of them require interoperability for realizing a return-on-investment (ROI). Unfortunately, the state of interoperability in the system serving consumers with complex needs is not great. The gap between where most provider organizations are and where they need to go is still large. So, what exactly is interoperability? The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has defined it--"for two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user" (see What is Interoperability?).
Big data, personalized medicine, artificial intelligence. String these three buzzphrases together, and what do you have? A system that may revolutionize the future of healthcare, by bringing sophisticated health data directly to patients for them to ponder, digest, and act upon--and potentially stop diseases in their tracks. At Singularity University's Exponential Medicine conference in San Diego this week, Dr. Ran Balicer, director of the Clalit Research Institute in Israel, painted a futuristic picture of how big data can merge with personalized healthcare into an app-based system in which the patient is in control. Picture this: instead of going to a physician with your ailments, your doctor calls you with some bad news: "Within six hours, you're going to have a heart attack. So why don't you come into the clinic and we can fix that."
A recent report from CB Insights found that healthcare Artificial Intelligence startups have raised $4.3 billion across 576 funding rounds in the last five years – more than any other sector. Investment flowing into building AI that works with people to tackle healthcare issues will continue globally. Meanwhile, finding sustainable answers to tragic conditions like Alzheimer's Disease will require accurately kept health records to advance progress -- and take the willing participation of people whose lives are fatally impacted by the disease. The party ultimately responsible for finding the answer to Alzheimer's might not be human -- or at least, the effort to rid the world of the disease may not be fully a human one. Artificial Intelligence presents the medical field with new opportunities to use learnings from existing and newly created data sets to solve complex human issues over the next few years.