It has only been a few months since Google’s AI system, AlphaGo, beat the world champion of Go –  a game that was once thought to be far too advanced for any piece of current AI technology to play. A major breakthrough thought by experts to have come a decade too early, it is clear that the field of AI is advancing much faster than we think. 
 
Of course, beating games is far from being the only thing that AI machines are capable of. You’ve probably heard of a Japanese hotel planning to have 90% of its staff covered by intelligent robots. Or maybe you’ve heard of GiraffPlus, an intelligent robot designed to care for the elderly, currently being tested in a few countries in Europe. The list goes on and on. However, AI also has the power to revolutionize one particular field that the world today absolutely cannot live without – medicine.
 
It can be shocking to find out that the third leading cause of death in the US, according to some studies like the one done by John Hopkins Medicine, is medical care itself. Prescription errors are actually common and often harmless, but a small portion of them can be fairly serious. This problem exists not just in the US but in many other countries too. It is concerning that the very thing that people generally turn to whenever they get sick can actually prove to be quite deadly, though only in rare cases. Of course, this is not to say that medicine is a bad thing. Rather, far from that. After all, medicine has allowed us to live longer and better lives, curing us from illnesses that we take for granted today. However, something must be done to put an end to these preventable deaths.
 
What can be done to reduce or eliminate deaths related to medical care? Perhaps medical tech companies like MedAware.
 
MedAware has created a software program applying concepts like big data analysis and machine learning to help prevent doctors from making potentially devastating errors. A trial run of the software was done in a number of hospitals in Israel. In this trial period alone, the system caught a number of errors that can prove to be fatal. Glibenclamide, an anti-diabetic drug, was wrongly prescribed to a woman aged 54. Chlorambucil (a chemotherapy drug) was prescribed to a patient who needed Chloramphenicol (an anti-biotic). Two drugs whose names are nearly identical, yet serve entirely different purposes. Looking at these examples alone it makes sense why it's apparently quite easy for doctors to make a mistake. 
 
The MedAware trial run has proven that there is a pressing need for a new system to solve the problems that plague the global healthcare industry. Far too many people die from medical-related mistakes that could have been avoided. The existing systems that we have today are simply not enough to combat the issue. As we've seen in the trial, it's starting to look like that AI might be the answer that we're looking for, and it doesn't stop there. As progress continues to be made in the technology, we will almost certainly see it being applied to other sub-fields of medicine, further refining and improving the quality of healthcare around the world.

Published by Johnatan F