By Zach Norton, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer, Medical Scrubs Collection
Telehealth’s ease of accessibility has contributed extensively to scaling its systems over the past few years. The pandemic fueled this further, creating a requirement for extending the real-time reach of healthcare to remote locations.
With the increased demand for telehealth, employing artificial intelligence (AI) technology has helped improve the virtual patient care experience. Physicians can now provide care in real time and use easily accessed data to manage their patients more seamlessly.
How Can AI Help Telehealth?
There are already several ways in which AI has improved healthcare delivery.
Analyzes Data and Detects Errors Efficiently
For one, it has favored easy recording and analysis of patient data. Large volumes of data can be quickly analyzed, looking for trends and specific patterns, especially concerning disease outcomes.
AI can detect anomalies among the various radiological scans, such as X-rays, enabling quicker detection. Machine learning algorithms can be programmed to make these data-analyzing systems more robust, reducing errors over time.
Eases Administrative Tasks
AI has also been integrated into the administrative systems at healthcare facilities. It helps with otherwise mundane tasks, such as clinic inventory for scrubs or surgical equipment. This allows medical professionals more time to engage in actionable patient care. Shortages can be communicated to suppliers through similar automated systems.
Improves Patient Management
AI in telehealth is assisting patients with understanding suitable insurance plans and deductibles, especially with its use in remote healthcare. Additionally, during a telehealth physician visit, AI can analyze patient history and provide personalized care and insight.
Records Vital Signs and Tests
Smart wearables use AI technology to record and analyze temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. This can then be documented in real time on telehealth platforms and referred to during physician visits.
Further, AI can assist during medical emergencies by tracking vitals and tests such as EKGs and categorizing the severity of the situation. The information would be relayed via telemedicine to emergency doctors at the hospital, who can suggest life-saving treatment en route to the hospital.
Works Toward Remote Treatment
Telehealth is also being explored with other technologies, such as robotics, to facilitate treatment in areas far away from healthcare facilities.
How Can Physicians Benefit From AI Technology?
Physicians benefit from AI technology in a variety of ways.
Improved Ability to Treat Patients
An MIT study of over 900 healthcare professionals highlighted that AI had improved the ability to treat illnesses in 75% of healthcare institutions. Moreover, 4 out of 5 healthcare professionals recorded less burnout as a result of seamless AI integration. They stated its integration improved their ability to provide patient care, a prime reason they ventured into medicine in the first place.
Reduced the Chance of Error
AI technology was created to reduce human error. Thus, physicians with a lack of experience can utilize AI as a valuable tool. It can also act as a safeguard against human factors such as fatigue.
Easier Patient Management
Physicians can monitor their patient’s vitals, medications, and lifestyle changes through their patient’s wearables. Receiving such data in real time can facilitate changes to treatment plans. Physicians can then use telehealth to relay any tests they may require patients to take. They could also forward prescriptions to pharmacies without requiring physical meetings or paper prescriptions.
Studies have indicated that AI systems can promote better communication between patients and physicians, especially when giving news on critical illnesses. This can prove quite useful in situations such as scanxiety, where cancer patients experience significant apprehension while getting the results of their subsequent scans.
Frees Up Physicians’ Schedules
For physicians, telemedicine is lightening their long patient loads, enabling them to dispense healthcare on a more flexible schedule. AI-built telehealth systems can also reduce geographical constraints and provide access to specialists across the globe. This can make referrals easy during patient care.
Physicians are also able to leverage AI for education through healthcare information technology. AI can simulate certain patient cases and allow VR integration to enable real-time practice for various medical techniques.
Are There Disadvantages to AI Technology?
While the advantages are plenty, physicians do face the struggle of certain disadvantages new technology might bring. Foremost includes training themselves and their medical staff to use these new systems. This can be overwhelming, especially as AI technology is constantly evolving.
Another concern is unintentional HIPAA violations due to possible leaks of sensitive patient information. According to healthcare data breach statistics, there were 4,746 medical data breaches between 2009 to 2022. Newer AI systems should be continually updated to ensure patient security, assisting physicians in reducing such violations of their patient’s information.
AI has already facilitated a more seamless experience for healthcare delivery through telehealth. From error-free data analysis to increasing patient access to healthcare, physicians can provide a more wholesome and patient-centric care experience. As the use of AI in telehealth increases, the workflow will improve and allow physicians to channel more focus on patient care.