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Artificial Intelligence Will Be Core to the Future of Senior Healthcare

An Intro to Artificial Intelligence

Like something out of a science fiction movie, technology is becoming smarter and smarter in every more surprising ways. From a robot from MIT learning to play Jenga to a super computer  winning “Jeopardy!” to a program that fills in missing hieroglyphic characters in ancient texts, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important throughout the world and in a variety of industries, including healthcare. AI is technology that analyzes large amounts of data and learns to “think” for itself. For example, Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine is starting to use AI to identify the best treatment options for cancer patients based on their individual characteristics, down to the molecular level.

AI and HIPAA Compliance

A big question that often comes up with AI in healthcare is protecting privacy and adhering to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA limits who has access to an individual’s health records, which naturally gets more complicated when data goes online and stored in the cloud. But in fact both healthcare providers like hospitals and healthcare technology companies have developed a lot of expertise in protecting patient information.

All of the technologies highlighted below are HIPPA-compliant.

Amazon Timesavers

You may be familiar with Alexa (also called Echo), Amazon’s virtual assistant technology. It can set reminders and timers, record a grocery list, and even tell you a joke if requested. For people with reduced mobility, Alexa can help with everyday tasks such as turning lights on and off, adjusting the thermostat, and controlling the television. Alexa is making day-to-day life easier and more convenient.

Large companies like Amazon are also investing in the healthcare field. Amazon launched a low-cost version of Prime for Medicaid recipients. This allows those who are less mobile or require assistance driving or shopping to shop on Amazon’s expansive network. Amazon continues to make advances in the healthcare field to help caregivers and loved ones.

Alexa Healthcare Skills are being introduced to the public. There are currently 6 programs that track prescription deliveries, manage health goals, send patient and caregiver reports doctors after surgery, track blood sugar levels and more. Amazon plans to expand these programs and develop other products, such as a smart program that reads medical records and makes diagnoses.

Watson from IBM

IBM’s Watson AI technology has a healthcare portion and is becoming more common in medical fields.

The University of North Carolina School of Medicine conducted a study with Watson in which Watson was given large amounts of data on a specific type of molecular tumor. Watson was able to correctly identify the altered genes in cases as well as analyze eight other gene mutations in over three hundred patients. In the future, doctors may be able to partly or even fully rely on AI technology to diagnose patients. AI research is being conducted in many fields, including in mental disease, adolescent disease, and rare disease.

IBM Watson Care Manager is making professional healthcare management more efficient. Watson Care Manager uses AI in a cloud-based system to optimize care management, coordinate care and provide helpful suggestions for care managers. An example provided on the video in the link, shows how helpful AI can be. A healthcare manager sees that an elderly patient hasn’t checked in for the past week. Watson Care Manager learns that her husband is recovering from surgery and the patient is now the caregiver. She may be struggling to take care of both their of their health, so Watson Care Manager makes suggestions for care plans, such as pharmacy delivery, health reminders or hiring a home health aid.

Stanley Black & Decker Healthcare

Stanley Black & Decker, the creator of Pria, also offers the Foresite Proactive Health & Predictive Fall Management remote monitoring solution used in senior living facilities. Foresite uses AI to give early warning of increased risk of a fall by tracking factors that are known to indicate heightened risk: gait, walking speed, the time it takes a person to stand and others. Forsite can also monitor wellness indicators, such as heart rate or restlessness.

The Future of AI in Senior Healthcare

The future of AI in senior healthcare is unlimited. Pre-diagnosis, greater preventative care and smarter medical screening are in the works thanks to AI technology. Some seniors may embrace AI technology more than others, but as the boomer and following generations grow older, more and more will embrace AI technology. From smart watches to remote monitoring, technological advances and new inventions are being implemented in healthcare and will continue well into the future.

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