The revolution of Artificial Intelligence usage in the healthcare sector

Inteligencia Artificial en el sector de la salud

Currently, Artificial Intelligence in medicine is a fundamental technology for advancing healthcare in the modern era. From streamlining the process of creating new drugs, through robotic applications for surgical and rehabilitation purposes, to providing more accurate diagnoses, the applications of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector are diverse and constantly evolving.

Fundamentals to understand the use of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector

Before delving into the fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to medicine, it is essential to understand its basic foundations. AI is based on the model of the neural network of the human brain, employing multiple layers of information that include algorithms, pattern matching, rules, deep learning, and cognitive computing to learn to understand complex datasets.

This technology allows identifying meaningful relationships between raw data, which has immense potential in the medical field. The application of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector enables medical professionals to address complex issues more quickly and effectively.

For example, Watson Health, an Artificial Intelligence system developed by IBM, is a flagship example of this integration. This system can analyze millions of medical reports, patient records, clinical trials, and scientific publications to discover patterns and hidden insights in the data. Watson Health has been successfully implemented in various countries, including Mexico, where it has significantly contributed to the fight against cancer since 2017, improving treatment accuracy and providing outstanding results.

Importance of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector

Undoubtedly, the incorporation of AI in medicine is radically transforming healthcare in numerous aspects. Here are some reasons why this combination is so relevant today:

  • Precise and rapid diagnoses. AI enables early and accurate identification of diseases, even those that progress rapidly, such as certain types of cancer and degenerative pathologies. An early diagnosis can make a difference in the treatment and prognosis of the patient.
  • Control and monitoring of chronic patients. Indeed, electronic devices and AI-based monitoring systems facilitate more effective monitoring of patients with chronic conditions. This helps them manage their health and reduce the need for frequent visits to the doctor.
  • Reduction of medical workload. AI can assist healthcare professionals in data interpretation and decision-making. In fact, it relieves their workload and allows them to focus on critical clinical aspects.
  • Advances in research and drug development. Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector accelerates medical research and the development of new drugs. This is possible through the analysis of large sets of genetic and molecular data, identifying therapeutic targets, and optimizing treatment effectiveness.
  • Quick response in pandemics. During the COVID-19 pandemic, AI played a crucial role in accelerating the development of new medical treatments and vaccines. Global collaboration between researchers and AI systems allowed reducing development timelines.

Examples of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector

Evidently, Artificial Intelligence is already an indispensable tool in the medical field. Here are some notable examples of its application:

  • Medical and image analysis. AI can quickly process large amounts of medical data, which is crucial in interpreting tests such as magnetic resonance imaging and genetic studies.
  • Medical diagnostics. Certainly, AI systems are exceptionally accurate in the early identification of diseases, enabling timely and effective treatment.
  • Personalized treatments. Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector enables the development of personalized medical treatments based on patients’ specific genomic profiles, which can be more effective with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.
  • Predictive genetics. In this area, mobile applications like Face2Gene use AI to detect rare diseases and genetic disorders by analyzing photographs and comparing them with genetic databases.
  • Pregnancy monitoring. AI offers real-time insight into the pregnancy status, reducing the need for invasive procedures for defect detection.
  • Smart prosthetics. Moreover, AI-based application-controlled prosthetics learn user movement patterns, adapting optimally to their needs.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector

Likewise, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics in medicine is making a significant milestone in improving surgical procedures and neuromotor rehabilitation. On the one hand, these technological advances have revolutionized the precision and efficiency of medical procedures. But, they have also opened new opportunities in early disease detection and patient rehabilitation.

AI and robotics in surgery

Surgery is a medical discipline that requires a high level of precision and expertise. However, physical fatigue and the loss of motor skills due to the repetition of procedures can affect the success of an operation. In this regard, robotics has proven to be an invaluable tool. Surgical errors are a significant concern in medicine. And although there are no official statistics, estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of failures occur in surgical interventions each year in countries like France and the United States, some of which are fatal. Robotics helps minimize these risks by providing superior precision to human surgeons.

One of the most notable examples of the application of robotics in surgery is the Da Vinci system developed by Intuitive Surgical. These surgical robots, which emerged in the 2000s, have performed millions of interventions in various medical specialties, including general, urological, gynecological, cardiac, and head and neck surgery. What makes these units exceptional is their precision and the ability to perform minimally invasive surgeries. In this way, they eliminate the need for large incisions and improve outcomes.

It is essential to note that surgical robots do not completely replace human surgeons. Surgeons continue to oversee and control operations from a computer console, allowing the combination of human skill and robotic precision.

The role of robotics and AI in neurorehabilitation

On the other hand, neurorehabilitation is a critical branch of medicine that seeks to improve motor and neurological function in patients who have experienced brain or neurological injuries. In this field, robotics is playing a fundamental role in patient assessment and treatment.

Robotic rehabilitation systems have been developed over decades, which now allows their utility for various purposes, from gait rehabilitation to the recovery of arm and hand function. One of the most notable advances was the development of the Lokomat in 1999, the first commercial robotic device designed for gait rehabilitation.

Currently, robotics and Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector are extensively used to assess the motor capacity of patients. In this way, they provide personalized intensive therapies, offer assistance or resistance to movement as needed, and provide real-time feedback to both patients and therapists. Gait rehabilitation is a particularly prominent application of robotics, with positive outcomes including improvements in independence, gait quality, speed, strength, and patients’ quality of life.

Inrobics applies artificial intelligence and robotics in rehabilitation therapies

Get to know us! We are Inrobics, a spin-off from Carlos III University of Madrid dedicated to digital health. In this field, we have developed a robotics-based rehabilitation solution, fully personalized, empathetic, and flexible. Features that enhance the effectiveness and access of treatment through these innovative technologies. Ours is the only certified social robotics solution as a medical device in Europe.

Our therapy options, both in clinical centers and homes, are equipped with Artificial Intelligence featuring ALMA, software developed at Inrobics. This tool is what brings the robots to life and enables their interaction with patients and doctors. The software ‘thinks’ with the assistance of a Machine Learning system to adapt to the needs of each user. Certainly, this resource is a practical example of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector.

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Picture of José Carlos González

José Carlos González

PhD in Computer Science and Technology from UC3M, with research focused on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Over 8 years of experience as a researcher leading IT architecture. Academic visitor at Carnegie Mellon University, USA, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Extensive experience with control architectures for autonomous robots, planning, and machine learning. Leads and manages software and IT architecture. Possesses substantial experience and leadership in technology and innovation. Committed to developing technologies that enhance people’s quality of life and make healthcare more accessible and efficient for everyone.