How AI & Machine Learning Can Help To Prevent Future Outbreaks


Look at the hype around Artificial Intelligence/AI and Machine Learning today. They have become the new buzzword in the field of technology. Healthcare, as an industry, stands to gain immensely from this development. And rightly so because of the overwhelming amount of data it must deal with regularly.

Besides having a colossal impact on scientific research, AI has influenced epidemiology and diagnostics in a big way. We hope that AI will one day prevent outbreaks such as the coronavirus.

How will this be possible?

Predicting disease outbreaks: As new AI algorithms emerge, they can analyze larger volumes of data. This advantage helps epidemiologists track outbreaks of infectious diseases and check their progression. Today, researchers can use online search queries about common symptoms related to geographical data to predict the possible outbreak of diseases.

This power to predict outbreaks gives us the advantage of time. People know they have an ailment even before they get in touch with the doctor. You will notice people trying to self-diagnose by typing in keywords like “sore throat” before calling their GP. You can see which zip code they are coming from and use machine learning to predict a possible flu outbreak there. In the same way, government health agencies have been using data and population mapping for tracking crowd densities according to location and analyzing this data to project risks of outbreaks. If they notice the numbers are exceptionally high for pandemic conditions, they will start restricting attendance or contemplate shutting down.

Fine-tuning treatments: With AI becoming a part of patient treatment plans, people suffering from long-term illnesses can hope to survive longer and enjoy a better quality of life. Machine learning can analyze data from people with cochlear implants, for instance, to make it possible for them to communicate better. By using AI solutions, doctors can tweak treatment plans and cater to a patient’s specific needs.

Scanning accurately to detect patterns: AI-based computer vision scans and processes large volumes of images in record time. AI is an advantage for medical laboratories where radiologists are usually overworked. They are tired and often unable to catch every anomaly in a scan when they must examine hundreds of images in a day. Artificial Intelligence will prioritize images that will most likely show a problem.

Speeding up documentation: AI is invaluable where mundane work in hospitals and labs is concerned. AI-based speech recognition allows doctors to dictate notes and fill up forms verbally. It saves a lot of time they would otherwise have to spend typing in information about patients.

So, Artificial Intelligence is making medical lab technologists more productive by speeding up the scanning of images and automating data input. AI increases human productivity for reading scans. By relieving healthcare professionals of such mundane duties, AI ensures they can focus more on interacting with patients and delivering the highest level of patient care.