The Power of AI & Robotics in Health Care and How Nurses Can Integrate with the New Technology

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We may not be very close to receiving primary care directly from robots, but artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are certainly making strides within the health care industry. From assisting in surgeries to performing caregiving tasks and having conversations with patients, robots are adopting an active role in the delivery of health care services. Nurses will need to educate themselves on these technologies and be prepared for the impact of health care.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Regis College’s Online MSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

How nurses and AI can work together to improve different elements of patient care delivery.

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The Rise of Robots and Artificial Intelligence

By 2021, the AI market for health care is projected to reach $6.68 billion. The market for robots in health care is predicted to hit $2.8 billion in that same time frame. Currently, 63% of health care executives worldwide are investing in AI technologies, and 74% of execs plan to invest. Only 31% of execs believe AI is the most disruptive tech in the industry.

Consumers are slowly warming to the concept, with 54% of patients being open to receiving AI-enabled health care.  37% are okay with AI monitoring their heart conditions, 35% are open to AI checking their heartbeat rhythm, 34% are good with AI-coordinated health advice, and 30% are fine with AI taking blood samples.

The Value of AI in Health Care

Visual pattern recognition has been estimated to be 5 to 10% more accurate than the average physicians. Granted, physicians value their intuition above a machine’s commands. Yet according to an article by Forbes, “if all physicians matched the performance of the top 20% nationwide, patient deaths from cancer, infection, and cardiovascular disease would decrease by the hundreds of thousands each year.” AI could be the tool that makes this happen.

AI can also make an impact in nursing. According to a report by Deloitte, nurses spend most of their shifts on paperwork, coordinating lab results, and searching for medication and supplies. Robotics and AI can automate hospital ancillary and back-office services, enabling nurses to spend more time delivering care.

7 Areas in Health Care

AI is poised to impact seven vital health care areas: The first area is preventive care, where AI and consumer health applications can help monitor health, encourage healthy habits, and even catch early signs of illness. This impact is already being felt via the more than 100,000 health apps currently available in Google Play and iTunes stores.

Another area of impact centers on the concept of early detection. Health care organizations can use AI to increase the speed and accuracy of translating scans. For instance, AI can review and translate mammograms 30 times faster than normal, and with 99% accuracy. AI can also reduce the need for unnecessary procedures.

AI can also have a positive impact with diagnosis. For example, it can help diagnose conditions like strep throat without the need for a doctor visitation. An AI system could allow more than 4,000 cancer patients to receive early diagnosis each year, something that can increase their chances of survival.

Additionally, AI can be beneficial to the decision-making process. Health care professionals can use AI to identify patients at the greatest risk and help prioritize decisions and actions. This is particularly huge since medical errors – which are often attributed to cognitive errors – are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

End-of-life care can also be substantially impacted by AI. Robots can help individuals remain independent longer, reduce the need for care homes and hospitalizations, and interact socially to minimize feelings of loneliness. They’ll be poised to do this via very accurate predictive behaviors. In a study published by the NPJ Digital Medicine journal, a deep learning model was fed nearly 48 billion data points and predicted certain medical issues with 90% accuracy.

AI can make a positive ripple in treatment, as well. For decades, robots have helped health care professionals across a wide variety of tasks, including surgery assistance. Their aid can potentially improve outcomes by 30 to 40%, according to reports by Frost and Sullivan.

Finally, AI can positively impact research. AI can help lower the cost of developing new drugs, and those subsequent savings could be transferred to customers. This is a massive plus, considering the cost of discovering and developing a drug typically starts at $2.5 billion.

How Nurse leaders Can Get Ready for What’s Coming Next

Advanced practice registered nurses can help organizations prepare for, implement, and adapt to these promising AI technology-fueled transformations. For example, there are several data-focused steps they can take, from introducing initiatives that improve data quality to establishing patient data-protecting security standards. They can also help design AI implementation processes, collaboratively develop AI tech with research and AI vendors, and evaluate AI outputs for quality control. They can also carry out tasks that require a human touch, such as performing duties in niche areas or delivering compassion and empathy in certain situations.

Alongside AI and robots, advanced practice registered nurses will help improve the quality and efficiency of care. The benefits will reach not only patients but also health care organizations.