December 24

Current Trends and Future Possibilities of AI in Telemedicine

Vinati Kamani

Artificial intelligence in healthcare is no longer a hype but rather an actual reality. The rise in AI capabilities and increasing reliance on healthcare data are the propelling forces behind the growing applications of AI in healthcare. The field of telemedicine is no exception to it. 

Telemedicine usage is steeply rising and is going to continue to rise in the future as well. The global telemedicine market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 23.5 percent and reach $185.66 billion by 2026. 

The versatility and flexibility that telemedicine offers in healthcare delivery combined with the advancements in artificial intelligence has the potential to uncover a wide range of possibilities. Here are some of the ways in which Artificial Intelligence is augmenting telemedicine and making virtual delivery of healthcare seamless. 

AI for triaging patients through telemedicine

Artificial Intelligence is already being used in the clinical space as a decision support tool. By leveraging patient data AI can help distribute the patient load and optimize telehealth utilization. 

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools can be used to address the gap in the demand and supply of healthcare services. AI algorithms can match the availability of care providers to the demand for their skill sets and bridge the gap.

Using AI as a tool to bridge the gap between underutilization of healthcare services and excessive stress on the healthcare workforce. AI can be used for triaging the patients remotely and determining the severity and urgency of the care they need. 

Emergency services can be deployed for the most severe cases, moderate cases can be managed remotely while mild cases can be managed through chatbots or messaging with healthcare providers. Building a telemedicine platform for your hospital is the best way to leverage the power of artificial intelligence to relieve the load on the emergency department while streamlining patient care.

AI in remote patient monitoring

The market for patient as well as provider-facing telehealth products that incorporate artificial intelligence is on the rise. With the increasing growth trajectory of remote patient monitoring, AI has a significant role to play not only in analysis of the data but in ensuring its recording too. 

Remote patient monitoring devices till now are mostly being used to record simplistic data such as patient’s vital stats like blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels and heart rate. Complex technology like ECG and ultrasounds still require licensed medical professionals who are adept at using them. Either the patients have to visit the hospital or the professionals need to make a visit to the patient’s home. AI can change that. 

AI guided ultrasounds are now a reality and have already received FDA approval in February 2020. The first artificial intelligence-enabled cardiac ultrasound software has received De Novo marketing authorization by the FDA. Medical professionals who are not expert in ultrasonography can produce high-quality diagnostic images in real-time guided by artificial intelligence. Thus AI can reduce the demand on specialists while streamlining care remotely. 

AI for automating manual tasks

Telemedicine is scaling up innovation in the fields of tele-radiology, tele-pathology and tele-dermatology. The power of artificial intelligence for detecting patterns with high speed and accuracy is its biggest advantage in streamlining practice management and ensuring timely decision making for medical procedures. 

Departments of cardiology, radiology and dermatology already rely on AI to analyze the reports. Doing the same through telemedicine allows for the specialists’ skills to be utilized for the complicated cases while the simpler cases can be diagnosed through AI algorithms. 

Artificial intelligence and deep learning technology will soon be used to improve radiology, dermatology and pathology diagnostics, operational efficiency and much more. By automating the routine manual tasks, AI can boost the efficiency of healthcare delivery. 

Chatbots for increased patient engagement through telemedicine

The combination of AI with telemedicine gives way to the advent of data-driven patient care. Increased patient engagement through telemedicine is a result of personalization of care and a positive patient experience. 

Chatbots have come a long way from their rudimentary stage into complex algorithms capable of multitude of functionalities and holding complete conversations with the patients. Virtual nursing assistants and chatbots are already revolutionizing the healthcare delivery landscape. AI powered robots can further transform at-home healthcare delivery. 

Research on assistive robots that run on AI is already underway in Japan. With a growing aging population and increasing burden at senior living facilities, assistive robots can provide timely medications, help in movements around the house and alert healthcare providers in case of any accident or emergency. 

AI for streamlining medication management

By analyzing historical data of medication compliance, AI can shortlist patients who are likely to miss out on the medication regimen prescribed to them. Additional measures for ensuring medication management can be then undertaken like sending out of automated reminders through the telemedicine platform or connected mobile apps. 

Chatbots can also resolve any queries that the patients may have about their medicine regimen. The patient does not have to get in touch with the consulting physician but can rather have technology give them the information they need. AI and telemedicine can also be a great asset to monitor medication adherence during clinical drug trials and ensure compliance to the drug regimen prescribed. 

Closing words

Artificial Intelligence isn’t a far-fetched concept anymore. It is already a part of our everyday reality. Combining the analytics and innovation that AI offers with the flexibility and convenience of telemedicine has the potential to transform healthcare delivery for the better. 

Have questions how you can take advantage of Artificial Intelligence in combination with telemedicine? Get in touch with our team of experts. With over a decade of experience building telemedicine platforms, our telemedicine consultants will help you navigate the telehealth landscape.  


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