Time to read: 2 minutes 40 seconds
Summary: Artificial intelligence is improving health care with data. Doctors have access to data that helps improve care. Individuals can take control of their own health with access to tools. And those managing health care plans can use new technology to make better decisions faster.
We depend on technology every day in both our business and personal lives. Our computers and smart devices keep us organized, informed and on time. In fact, in America, 96 percent of people own a mobile phone. More than 20 percent use a smartwatch or fitness tracker. One in four adults owns a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo. Yet, most of us do not stop to consider the underlying artificial intelligence (AI) that drives these devices. This AI is improving all the time to simplify our lives further.
Artificial intelligence comes from computers processing large amounts of data. Those computers can then make recommendations based on the results. In the health care field, new advances in AI affect people across the board. Doctors have access to more data and insights than ever before. AI can empower individuals to take control of their own health. And AI helps employers and those who have to manage health care plans make the best decisions.
Here are three ways AI is changing health care:
1. Large-scale data for doctors
Because AI-powered algorithms can sort through massive amounts of data, they can analyze health outcomes and patterns from many people around the world. This “machine learning” can look at treatment methods and how effective they are, then recommend the best path forward. This means large-pool data can actually provide insight on how to treat individuals.
One example is the cancer treatment known as immunotherapy, which activates the immune system to attack cancer cells. Thanks to AI, immunotherapy could soon be customized to a person’s unique genetic profile. Another application is identifying diseases or irregularities. Researchers from the UK developed a tool that can identify developmental issues from images of a child’s face. Stanford University found that AI can be more accurate than a human expert in finding irregularities in the heart.
Advances like these will not only improve health outcomes, but they can help drive down the cost of health care. Better diagnoses in less time also means less downtime for employees and a more productive workforce.
2. Statistics for individuals
AI is also present in health apps or smart devices like watches. With these, individuals can track their own statistics, including:
Tracking movement, steps or specific exercises
Sound monitoring for damaging loud noises
These tools help keep employees healthy — and a healthy workforce is key to any successful business.
3. Immediate access to support
AI can also make managing health care plans a little easier. New machine learning can help employers choose optimal health care plans. This means fewer employees will be under- or over-insured, saving money in the long term.
Apps like Sydney can help answer questions about plans or help your employees get information instantly. Sydney includes tools to check the cost of procedures, find a doctor, view benefits and more. Currently, the Sydney app also offers a COVID-19 Symptom Checker. Users can learn about symptoms and how to stay safe. They can also chat with physicians about any concerns.
Another new way to access AI health technology is through smart home speakers like the Amazon Echo. By enabling Anthem Skill on any Alexa-enabled device, you or your employees can:
Order new member ID card(s)
Check the balance of your health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA)
Schedule a call with Member Services
Refill or check the status of medications
Get clarification on confusing health care terms
These advancements scratch the surface of what AI can do in health care. New technology, programs and machine learning will continue to better care and lower costs in the future, making it easier to provide your employees with the health care they need.