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Artificial intelligence (AI) — its potential applications, repercussions and cascading effects — has been making headlines across a wide variety of sectors, including healthcare and pharma. And as the world looks to strengthen healthcare systems in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear AI could serve as a disruptive force. Keeping up with the evolution and use cases of AI is now a critical part of how global and public health practitioners should think about potential solutions for patient care.
AI touches nearly every aspect of the patient journey and treatment cycle, from research and development through continued care, and understanding the promise and peril of its use is essential. One way AI could enhance the patient experience includes increasing the speed of drug discovery and development, leading to faster solutions to positively impact public health. That could mean increasing the speed of vaccine development or developing new solutions to address the global obesity epidemic, a rapidly growing space that could save healthcare systems billions if addressed properly.
Another area of potential impact for AI is software as a medical device and digital therapeutics as a whole, using technology to change the existing model of reliance on in-office visits and testing to something more agile. We got a taste of this during the pandemic, with the accelerated rollout and adoption of telemedicine. And in terms of digital therapeutics, there is potential for AI-based software solutions to help improve daily life for patients as well.
But as digital and AI-driven solutions accelerate, it’s vital to address equitable access and work to close digital divides in rural and under-resourced communities.
Here are three AI trends we’re watching in the health and pharma space.
As AI technology and its uses continue to rapidly evolve, these potential use cases for global and public health applications generate more questions than answers. But if properly applied, the possibilities for AI are enormous. Add to that, they could have real impact on patient health — reaching underserved communities, empowering more preventative health measures and giving healthcare practitioners powerful tools to use when tackling the multifaceted and nuanced challenges of patient diagnosis and treatment.