Artificial Intelligence will transform healthcare services for the better

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been tipped to take over many work sectors in the future and healthcare is no exception. A recent article published by Forbes highlighted that the market for AI in healthcare is projected to reach $6 billion over the next three years.

A key factor behind all the change is the use of technology to reduce the effort required to complete high volume tasks.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is an area of computer science that focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that work like humans. It has many applications across industries that include finance, transportation and healthcare.

Some common applications of Artificial Intelligence include:

  • Face, speech and handwriting recognition
  • Virtual reality and image processing
  • Language processing
  • Chatbots and translation
  • Email spam filtering
  • Data mining

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare

The occupational health sector is already seeing the benefits of technology as many back-office processes are now increasingly being automated, resulting in greater service efficiency and reduction in operational costs. Healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists are now equipped with more time to focus on value-added tasks in their busy schedules.

Recent healthcare technology implementations such as the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) in the NHS, allows medical assessments, immunisations and checks to be recorded and monitored to manage the health clearance process for employees.

Artificial intelligence can organise patient routes better and provide industry professionals with all the information they need to make a good decision. It has already found areas in healthcare to revolutionise starting from the design of treatment plans to assisting with the streamlining of repetitive jobs.

One of the main applications of Artificial Intelligence can be found in data management. The AI research branch of the search giant Google, launched the DeepMind Health project, which is used to mine data of medical records to provide better and faster health services.

Similarly, IBM launched an algorithm called Medical Sieve. It is a project to build the next generation “cognitive assistance” with analytical, reasoning capabilities and a range of clinical knowledge. It can analyse radiology images to spot and detect problems faster in a more reliable manner.

There is little doubt that sophisticated learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms will find a place in healthcare over the coming years. However, there are still many things humans can do better than machines. For example; machines have made little progress in tackling novel situations, they are unable to process things that they have not seen many times before. Humans are good at thinking outside the box; seeing connections when they are not there. In short, humans are good at seeing the bigger picture.


One of the main challenges AI faces in healthcare is widespread clinical adoption. To fully realise the value of AI, the healthcare industry needs to grow a workforce that is knowledgeable in this area, so they are comfortable using and working with it. Technology moves at a very fast pace and many people are unable to keep up with the latest trends and advancements due to lack of understanding and skills.

After saying this, AI is gaining traction in many fields and has the capability to have a huge and positive impact on healthcare.  A recent global AI Impact report conducted by PWC highlighted healthcare as being one of the primary industries that will put practical AI to work in 2018. The report also discussed how the value of AI lies not in creating new industries, but rather empowering current employees to add more value to existing enterprises through three main ways:

  • Automating processes that are too complex for older technologies
  • Identifying trends in old data to create value for business
  • Providing predictive intelligence to strengthen human decisions

Business leaders do not need to adopt AI for the sake of it. However, when they look for the best solution for their business need, AI will increasingly have a role to play. For example, does the company want to automate their occupational health process, reduce the reliance on paper-based systems, and improve data reporting or compliance functions? If the answer to these questions is yes, AI will likely form part of the solution.

Technology will make many jobs redundant, others easier, and create some new ones along the way, so it becomes important for us to see the potential of AI to augment and enhance our work roles, and not as a total replacement for what we know.

About Cohort Software

For 37 years, Cohort Software has continually innovated to become the market leading provider of occupational health software solutions. On average, customers achieve a 50% efficiency saving using the Cohort system to streamline their departmental occupational health processes through powerful workflow automation, which enables users to focus on more value-added tasks in their daily schedules.

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