"The same benefits computers provide, like unlimited memory and immediate recall, are what make AI so powerful," said Jacob Haning, a senior analyst and software engineer at Fuse by Cardinal Health, the company's innovation center. “By applying deep learning algorithms to an unlimited amount of knowledge at ever-increasing speeds, we can make highly accurate, informed decisions to produce better outcomes."
As computing power increases and data storage becomes cheaper, computers are able to provide near unlimited capacities for memory and data. AI algorithms make use of that to quickly disseminate and analyze endless volumes of data for better patient outcomes. These are crucial skills in the world of medicine, where new information on how we understand and treat diseases appears in research papers nearly every day.
Even without the heavy workload that today's healthcare providers face, it's impossible for one physician to read and absorb every piece of up-to-date research in their field. But AI can, and as such, is an indispensable tool for doctors to provide patients with the best and most recent information available for better care.
Consider IBM's Watson, an AI tool that is proving particularly useful in the healthcare environment. One iteration, Watson for Oncology, hosts an extraordinary amount of curated oncological data, including more than 290 medical journals, 200 textbooks, and 12 million pages of text.
Recently, Watson was tasked with assisting in treatment support of over 1,000 cancer patients at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. In more than 99 percent of cases, Watson's recommended treatment plans were the same as those of the oncologists. In 30 percent of cases, Watson provided additional treatment options based on the latest cancer research.
"Tools like Watson support healthcare teams in their decisions," Haning said. "They can get to diagnoses and treatment options faster and help patients in a better way."