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Artificial intelligence as the future of (not only Czech) healthcare

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Imagine going on your first health check with your new GP. You enter the office from the waiting room, and a robot in a white coat sits behind the desk. This shiny robot will introduce itself as the most modern healthcare artificial intelligence solution, and while you are shocked and unable to react, it will start investigating your health condition.

That sounds like a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? And also, that it is! Although artificial intelligence already stands as a significant help for doctors, it is still used in places other than GPs’ chairs and offices.

Artificial intelligence in today’s healthcare rarely takes the form that people would probably imagine. Instead of robot bodies, it hides in a variety of devices or powerful computers and is only seldom in full use. Most medical projects require absolute accuracy and reliability after AI since human lives are at stake. And such high demands are one of the main reasons why various AI technologies and devices remain in the research stage for a very long time.

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In the surgery, operating room, but also the ambulance

However, some projects involving AI in saving lives certainly have great potential. Dell company, in collaboration with Irish healthcare professionals, develops one of the great examples. In the future, their solution will accompany paramedics in ambulances and send information about the condition of the transported patient directly to the hospital, helping doctors prepare everything for his arrival. The technology is to monitor, for example, the heart rhythm of the patient or the first signs of bleeding into the brain and other hidden complications. The solution partly consists of a camera capable of recognizing the facial reaction of the patient.

But more commonly, people can meet pharmaceutical artificial intelligence working with big data and medical images. Microsoft Inner Eye technology, which is currently being tested at the General University Hospital in Prague, is a great example. This artificial intelligence system, equipped with machine learning technology, plots and analyzes radiological images of prostate cancer patients, helping to accurately identify endangered tissues, and set up the best treatment. Similar helpful AI solutions that work with different kinds of pictures and data are now being developed globally. And solutions like the Inner Eye are currently the main direction of AI use in healthcare.

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Smart virtual assistants

Artificial intelligence in healthcare is not only available to doctors but also to patients. Most often in the form of artificial intelligence chatbots, which can advise them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and thus help with various situations. For example, an AI chatbot can use information about a patient’s symptoms to identify possible diseases. And does it more precisely and responsibly than, for example, the Google search engine – it only works with relevant data. The apps that you can confide in with your symptoms are, for instance, Healthily or Ada.

But you don’t even have to be sick to contact a chatbot erudite in health issues. In the Czech Republic, for example, there is a chatbot developed by the Born Digital startup, which advises those interested in donating blood plasma. Thanks to the solution, potential donors will find all the necessary information about the rules of plasma collection, compensation, and future use of plasma in one place – at the chatbot on the website of the sanaplasma collection centers. Many other chatbots globally help people with, for example, health insurance, and claims handling.

Moreover, chatbots using artificial intelligence today orient themselves not only in matters of physical, but also mental health. For instance, the Woebot chatbot can not only provide basic information about various mental problems but also works as a therapeutic tool for patients suffering from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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