Apocalypse or Utopia?
Many healthcare professionals may view the advancement of A.I. with trepidation. The truth is, A.I. is inevitable. As of today, there is A.I. tech that can recommend tumor-specific cancer treatments, help with disease management, scan for potential clinical trials, eliminate unnecessary (and costly) care services, detect and understand emotion and, potentially, even predict patient health patterns.
And that’s only the beginning.
The next few decades will likely see an explosion of A.I. and technology development. Could nurses, doctors or even hospitals altogether really become obsolete? On the other hand, what if A.I. simply makes the careers of these professional easier, more efficient and better for patients and the public health in general?
These are both valid—and highly important—questions. That is why we’ve chosen A.I. as the focus of our first IdeaLab exploration. Industry experts and three teams of SmithGroup health professionals sat down to imagine what true potential lies within A.I. and how it could disrupt the healthcare industry—both for better and for worse—today, tomorrow and decades down the road.
A.I. is already here.
A.I. has already changed healthcare in a big way.
Our research teams imagined a future world where it is the chassis for the entire industry—a world where patients can walk into their local drug store, step into a kiosk, be scanned for various diseases and conditions, and pick up prescriptions right on the spot. They foresee wearable devices that can scan for cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. They imagined ways A.I. could complement already existing services, allowing healthcare professionals to be more effective. In short, they foresaw an industry that uses technology to offer more thorough, more accurate and more comprehensive patient care on the whole.
At SmithGroup, we make asking questions and seeking out disruption a part of our daily process. Though about to turn the industry on its head, artificial intelligence is just a small part of healthcare’s long-term trajectory. In hosting ongoing Futures Forums and IdeaLabs, we will continue to anticipate disruptors and imagine a future-state healthcare industry. Here are just a few quick takeaways from our research.
- A.I. will help better aggregate and analyze medical data, improving both patient diagnoses and treatment efficacy.
- Wearable, ingestible and implantable devices will make early detection more seamless, and treatments will be administered in more convenient, transparent ways.
- A.I. technology and architecture will become one, with telemedicine kiosks, virtual hospitals, and other similar developments becoming the norm.
- A.I. will make the management of chronic conditions and overall health and wellness a seamless part of everyday life.
- Geographic and time boundaries will cease to exist. Patients will be able to consolidate appointments, consult with professionals from all over the world and enjoy a shorter care pathway overall.
- Drones will make prescription delivery and emergency care faster and more efficient.
- Basic tasks like scheduling, visit planning and even taking vital signs and health histories will become automated with the use of A.I. tech.