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AI in healthcare is advancing rapidly, so why aren't Americans noticing the progress?

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There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare has had a very successful year. In October, the FDA added 178 AI-enabled devices to its list of over 500 AI technologies approved for medical use. Topping the list of most approved devices were two major players in the healthcare technology space: GE Healthcare, with 42 authorized AI devices, and Siemens, with 29.

Together, the two companies accounted for nearly 40% of the new handsets that made the list.

Yet despite the leaps and bounds made in the field thanks to these two behemoths, a recent survey by medical intelligence firm Bluesight found that regardless of the actual strides made, about 50% of American adults say they haven’t seen or experienced improvements in their own care as a result of advances in medical AI.

Why is that? And when will consumers begin to reap the benefits?

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They already are, but they may not realize it, as many tools are used by clinicians behind the scenes in radiology and imaging, explained Peter Shen, Head of Digital Health at Siemens Healthineers North America. But increasing personalized healthcare using AI tools is something Siemens continues to improve and prioritize.

“Our AI strategy goes beyond imaging and pattern recognition,” said Shen. “The informed diagnoses we derive from AI allow us to design better ways to care for patients. For us, it’s more than efficiency and more than just decision making. We want to start driving personalized medicine to patients themselves and create accessibility in healthcare.”

Behind the curtain and beyond the hype

Rapid improvements in AI technology are largely aimed at making healthcare more accessible to the patients served by reducing costs, accelerating processes and providing even more accurate and personalized care. The benefits continue to evolve with each iteration of AI-enabled medical technology, and many of these advancements are also being used to assist medical professionals behind the scenes.

Radiology and medical imaging continues to be the fastest growing sector of AI medical advances, representing more than 85% of the FDA’s total list of 521 devices. Experts from GE and Siemens say they anticipate further growth in this area – particularly with the potential it holds to change healthcare and diagnostic outcomes for patients.

For example, Vara AI, an AI-powered mammography screening platform, was able to detect approximately 40% of all cancers in clinical trials that were initially missed by radiologists.

This is something patients may not realize being used, but it can certainly impact their diagnosis and treatment outcomes.

“AI is breaking out of the hype cycle and becoming mainstream, increasing access to applications that use AI,” said Vignesh Shetty, senior vice president and general manager, Edison AI and platform at GE Healthcare. “As a result, the face of radiology, imaging and healthcare is changing and AI is becoming one of its distinguishing features.” When it comes to AI, he added, “It’s no longer a fear of AI replacing healthcare professionals, it’s more a question of healthcare professionals who use AI differentiating themselves from those who don’t.”

Supporting patients with AI in 2023

Interestingly, the Bluesight survey found that although many patients reported not seeing or experiencing technological advances directly in their medical care, 84% of patients responded neurally or positively on a scale of 1 to 5 to the statement: “I think technology is making health more accessibility.”

This could signal room for improved education and dialogue around using AI in healthcare to build trust – something the Bluesight survey also found to be lacking. At the same time, AI personalization capabilities can help with that trust, allowing patients to feel more seen, heard and supported too.

“AI technology has the potential to improve the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses, which can help clinicians deliver better patient care,” said Shetty. “In addition, AI-based tools can help reduce the amount of time and effort that physicians and other healthcare professionals have to spend on routine tasks, which can free up more time to care for patients.”

As GE enters 2023, the company is largely focused on patient support. Its solutions include the Edison platform to improve the efficiency of patient processes; Critical Care Suite 2.0, which automates high-risk procedures; and its Mural platform, which allows physicians to access the situation of ICU patients to provide care and reduce intervention time.

“What customers really value is reducing uncertainty, whether it’s healthcare, ridesharing or another industry,” said Shetty. “Now imagine a 20-fold improvement in the patient and practitioner experience using smart scheduling or reduced MR exam and reporting times. This is the transformation that GE Healthcare seeks.”

As for Siemens, Shen said that in 2023 the company plans to double its focus on using its algorithms and AI technologies to improve pattern recognition and train it on large amounts of clinical data and help achieve better outcomes for patients.

“Instead of using AI in a clinical space like radiology, we can train it to look at multiple clinical spaces such as imaging data and also data from lab results or blood tests, or even pathology slides from a biopsy” , Shen explained. “If we input everything into our AI systems and train the AI ​​to find correlations between all of that clinical data, it will help clinicians make stronger, more informed diagnostic and treatment decisions about their patients.”

This kind of work with AI technology could also be used to model patient anatomy and eventually lead to the development of personalized, anatomically correct digital twins for patient care, perhaps to test the effectiveness of certain therapies in patient simulations. very specific digital twins, before trying. about the patients themselves, Shen said.

These advancements are not likely to slow down any time soon and are likely to become technologies that patients interact with more and benefit even more in healthcare. Looking ahead, AI solutions in healthcare are set to skyrocket, making the market worth $188 billion by 2030, according to Statista.

While focused on growth, Siemens and GE Healthcare ultimately plan to continue to prioritize outcomes that better serve patients.

“Generating results will improve the future of AI and leverage information to help medical professionals make more informed diagnostic decisions and create personalized therapeutic treatments for patients,” said Shen.

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