For holistic medical practitioners, working with patients to develop treatment can be a challenge. Assessing the multiple variables that affect one’s health requires careful attention and intuition to provide the best approach to healing. Given this complexity, the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) in the medical environment promises to become a critical tool for successful treatment.
AI Isn’t Science Fiction Anymore
While creating AI applications is a complex process, their purpose is easily explained: how can we make analyzing an enormous amount of data as efficient as possible while still producing usable results? The answer for AI developers is to build computer systems that mimic the way the human brain processes information.
In the medical field, harnessing the power of computer processing can produce faster diagnoses, help identify potential treatments, and better assess the effectiveness of these remedies.
Recently, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a partnership with DeepMind, the premier AI research firm that was acquired by Google in 2014. Using medical records stripped of personally identifying details, the VA will be working with DeepMind to develop AI algorithms that can preemptively spot risk factors for health deterioration.
The project has major implications for improving the quality and efficacy of healthcare, potentially preventing medical negligence cases. Today, fewer than 5% of hospitals employ some type of AI programming in their care programs. That number is expected to rise significantly, to over 50% that use AI in the next five years.
AI Will Give Holistic Practitioners Crucial Insights
The philosophical approach of holistic medicine incorporates the idea that illness is not an isolated condition within the body. A host of factors is taken into account to properly prescribe treatments, including issues of lifestyle, family history, risk factors, and – for some – an added spiritual component.
The sheer diversity and volume of information that holistic practitioners assess marries perfectly with an AI-assisted diagnostic approach. AI programming can detect patterns and trends that humans may miss. The VA program, for instance, will incorporate medical data from over 700,000 individuals. No single person can hope to crunch this amount of information without technological assistance.
AI Will Move More Medical Practices To The Holistic Approach
By definition, holistic medicine looks at the “big picture” when treating someone’s health. Practitioners often rely on their own experience or studies which discuss new ideas on how a certain factor can influence care and treatment. The AI approach can take diagnoses a step further by aggregating data across thousands, if not millions, of individuals to determine best practices.
Medical personnel will have a powerful tool to aid in investigating their own ideas as well. For instance, AI could cross-reference multiple studies for research, view efficacy rates across larger populations, and contribute more data to the broader community.
Even more exciting from a treatment point of view is that AI programming will elevate more patient care to a holistic approach. With so much multi-factor data available, medical staff can see the positive impact of holistic approaches and utilize them in their own care programs.
AI Will Support The Human Touch
Technological advances can sometimes be viewed as impersonal. AI diagnostic systems could never replace the personal touch that human beings provide.
Indeed, AI will actually support a more humane approach to medicine, allowing physicians to focus more keenly on individual patient needs. Getting to know and understand their patients better will only serve to enhance the benefits of AI diagnosis, rather than take over the doctor-patient relationship.