Why AI for Early Diagnosis?
Have you ever carefully examined a mark on your skin, wondering if it was simply a blemish or a sign of something worse? In the near future, finding the answer to your worries might be as easy as taking a photo with a smartphone app.
Early and accurate diagnosis of disease can make the difference between a treatable health condition and one that is fatal. But the sheer number of images and samples that need to be assessed by physicians and technicians creates a drain on resources and can lead to avoidable errors.
To combat the weaknesses of relying on human time and skill, researchers have started to turn to AI. AI tools can quickly ingest millions of samples in a short time, glean useful knowledge patterns, and quickly apply these patterns to individual patients, making them an ideal solution to this type of problem.
Applications to Skin Cancer and Blindness
Several recent developments in AI have led to exciting improvements in disease detection. For example, researchers at Stanford University have created an AI application to detect skin cancer with the help of 130,000 images of moles, rashes, and lesions. According to a scientific study, its accuracy in diagnosing skin cancer rivals that of professional doctors while being much more efficient.
DeepMind, a Google-owned AI company, is using machine learning to combat another problem—blindness–in cooperation with NHS. Still in development, researchers at DeepMind are currently using a million anonymous eye scans to train a deep learning algorithm to spot eye conditions like wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy at early stages. With improving early detection, experts suggest they might eventually be able to prevent 98 percent of severe visual loss.
Early disease detection is just one way in which AI is transforming the healthcare industry, improving outcomes, and changing the way doctors think about providing care.