According to a report by Global Market Insights, we can expect artificial intelligence in healthcare to reach a market size of $21 billion by 2026. At the same time, the cost savings from implementing healthcare AI solutions can potentially reach $150 billion in the same period. While those growth rates may seem high, there can be no doubt that the use of artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry continues to grow and will do so for the foreseeable future.
This growth can be seen in many areas, from clinics, healthcare administrations, pharmacology, diagnostics, research, and potentially more. The benefits that AI brings to those departments include automation of tasks, analysis of large data sets, patient engagement, personalized medicine, and more. But what are the big names behind all these innovations? We examine some of the most promising companies working to bring the benefits of AI to medicine.
The General Electric brand should be familiar to most, as their company history spans all the way back to the 19th century. In recent years their aptly named healthcare division, GE Healthcare, has partnered with tech giants such as Intel and NVIDIA to bring AI to several key healthcare segments. Their biggest contributions can be seen in the imaging and radiology space. GE’s AI solutions in those areas can help reduce human error and inexperience by automatically identifying issues seen during exams, predicting future risk by analyzing images, and also aiding clinicians by verifying work. As of October 2020, GE Healthcare was able to get FDA clearance for their AI-powered ultrasound systems.
In 2018, Digital Diagnostics made headlines by being one of the first companies awarded FDA approval for its AI software, IDx-DR. The software allows for autonomous diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and macular edema in at-risk patients. IDx-DR uses AI analysis on images taken by an operator to look for early signs of diabetic retinopathy and providing results in under a minute.
Since then, they’ve expanded their AI portfolio to tackle dermatology by acquiring the company 3Derm in 2020. The main product, 3DermSpot, is an algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to analyze skin images to find several types of melanoma and carcinoma. Currently, it is in the stages of recruiting pilot locations.
One of the most promising names in the AI healthcare space, Tempus uses artificial intelligence to take on challenges in multiple areas of healthcare. Tempus utilizes AI to analyze enormous data sets and computational problems to improve precision medicine. Using data as varied as genetic makeup, clinical documentation, exam images, and more, they aim to provide physicians with more information to make better decisions. In the oncology space, they can provide informed and personalized treatment options for patients based on their genomic profile. Outside of oncology, their AI solutions have applications in neurology, research, and infectious diseases. As of December 2020, their valuation was $8.1 billion dollars.
One area of healthcare that can greatly benefit from AI-based solutions is patient engagement. Using AI to analyze aggregated medical data, including electronic health records (EHR), and consultation notes, healthcare providers can predict future issues and likely causes of symptoms. One such company looking to bring AI-powered solutions to patient-facing medicine is Babylon Health. Powered by AI, their software can use natural language processing to analyze symptoms based on conversations with a patient. It can also check-in and monitor patient health automatically. For clinicians, Babylon Health can save time by providing information to patients that do not need consultations. While Babylon Health primarily services the European market at the moment, they are actively working on expanding US operations.
As a company that has a hand in autonomous car development, it should come as no surprise that one of the biggest names in tech also implements AI for healthcare applications. NVIDIA provides Clara, its AI-powered platform for both medical research and devices. Most notably, they have a hand in imaging, genomics, patient monitoring, and drug development. In fact, NVIDIA computing platform has had a hand in COVID-19 research. By using NVIDIA GPUs, researchers can simulate a drug’s effect on disease prior to testing.
Recently, NVIDIA’s healthcare efforts made headlines when they announced that their tool AtacWorks, developed with Harvard University, completed a genome analysis in 30 minutes thanks to NVIDIA GPUs. According to NVIDIA, the same process would’ve taken 15 hours using 32 CPU cores.
Artificial intelligence is also being used to tackle the administrative side of healthcare, from patient flow to supply chain management. In comparison, the traditional manual method of administration can be prone to errors and inefficient. Olive is one startup company looking at improving administration through automation of routine tasks. In December of 2020, they reached a valuation of $1.5 billion. To date, they have built AI-powered solutions to tackle inefficiencies in the revenue cycle, supply chain, and pharmacy. Their Alpha platform purports to identify areas of concern in processes and implement automation to speed up workflow.
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