It’s definitely “science”, but no longer “fiction”... From robots who greet patients as they enter the reception area, to AI that is used to analyze and diagnose based on lab tests; the hospital of the future is already here. Researcher Dolev Vaknin dives into this exciting new world in a series of posts covering the futuristic technologies we are likely to see more of in hospitals in the near future. [part II]
In the previous article, we discussed recent advancements in contactless monitoring and the use of robots in healthcare, highlighting the potential benefits of these technologies. In the second part, we will examine how remote medicine and artificial intelligence (AI) can be integrated into hospitals
Telemedicine - remote medicine
Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology such as video calls. This field has gained popularity in recent years due to the rise of new home monitoring systems and the COVID-19 pandemic, which led many people to avoid hospitals and medical centers to prevent infection.
The technology has the potential to improve treatment outcomes and make healthcare services more accessible to patients, particularly those living in remote and rural areas with limited medical services. The field is undergoing significant changes with the incorporation of wearable devices within patients’ homes, providing medical data to caregivers.
Additionally, the technology allows patients to consult with world-leading experts from the comfort of their homes, without the logistical difficulties of traveling to their clinics in different countries, making healthcare services more accessible to a larger population. Another application of this technology is in hospitals, where patients can be monitored within the ward while specialists, located thousands of miles away, review their medical cases. For example, the company Teladoc Health offers patients 24/7 remote medical service with board-certified doctors across the US, and offers hospitals and physicians remote consultation services with world-leading experts. Many major healthcare companies, such as Philips and Medtronic, are also developing services to monitor patients from their homes and provide telemedicine services.
Research studies indicate a favorable response from both patients and caregivers toward telemedicine. With advancements in technology and increasing demand for remote medical services, we anticipate telemedicine to continue to grow and have a positive impact on the healthcare system as a whole.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to play a major role in healthcare in the future. These technologies are based on vast databases and advanced data analysis algorithms, which are used to quickly diagnose medical cases, provide clinical recommendations, and even predict outcomes. A key advantage of this technology is its ability to learn and improve based on past performance.
The technology can be implemented in various fields of medicine such as interpreting CT scan results, identifying strokes, analyzing blood tests, and even diagnosing and predicting clinical deterioration among ICU patients, and then alerting medical staff to patients at risk. An example of this is the Israeli company Nucleai, which develops AI to detect cancer biomarkers in tumors and adjust therapy for better outcomes.
More technologies are under development these days, including AI-based smartphone applications that can detect suspicious skin spots and send a picture to a doctor for interpretation. The system helps users take optimal pictures of the area and provides recommendations for the doctor’s diagnosis, promoting early detection of diseases and improving prognosis.
Although AI is a relatively new field, there is a growing interest in it as demonstrated by the increasing number of companies, medical articles, and regulatory approvals given by organizations such as the FDA. In 2010, there were only 596 articles published on the subject, but by 2019, this number had risen to over 12,000 different articles!
That concludes part two of our series of articles where we reviewed remote medicine and artificial intelligence. In the third and last article, we will take a closer look at how the user experience is affected, and the structure of future hospitals from a broader perspective.