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Rise of AI & precision medicine: Personalising healthcare for better patient outcomes

Dr. Jagannath Sahoo
Wednesday, August 16, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Precision medicine, a ground-breaking approach to healthcare, is on the brink of a major transformation with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). This powerful combination has the ability to reshape the medical landscape, tailoring interventions and treatments to match each individual's distinctive genetic makeup, environment, lifestyle, and clinical data. By harnessing artificial intelligence's remarkable capacity to process vast volumes of data, including genomic information, patient records, medical imaging, and scientific literature, healthcare professionals are now empowered to unlock valuable patterns and insights into complex diseases. What is the result? Here, the personalised treatment strategies deliver superior accuracy, efficiency, and effectiveness.

One of artificial intelligence's greatest strengths lies in its capacity to improve clinicians' decision-making through augmented intelligence. By tapping into artificial intelligence algorithms, clinicians gain instant access to comprehensive patient information, evidence-based guidelines, and real-time research findings. This invaluable support equips them with the knowledge needed to make well-informed decisions regarding diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options.

As the field of precision medicine continues to grow, so does the importance of artificial intelligence. The ability to process and analyse vast amounts of data, combined with AI's capacity for reasoning, learning, and empowering clinicians, has positioned this dynamic duo at the forefront of healthcare innovation. However, it's crucial to address the ethical considerations and challenges that arise. Privacy, data security, transparency, and fairness must be carefully navigated to ensure the responsible and equitable use of artificial intelligence in precision medicine.

Artificial intelligence algorithms have the capability to process and analyze vast amounts of data, which is crucial in precision medicine. Genomic data, patient records, medical imaging, and scientific literature contain valuable insights for understanding complex diseases and developing personalized treatment strategies. Artificial intelligence can extract meaningful patterns and associations from these diverse sources, enabling healthcare professionals to gain a deeper understanding of diseases at the molecular level and identify specific biomarkers or genetic variations that influence disease progression and response to treatment. This knowledge can aid in the development of targeted therapies and interventions.

Artificial intelligence's role in precision medicine extends beyond data analysis; it also augments clinician decision-making through augmented intelligence. By leveraging artificial intelligence algorithms, clinicians can access comprehensive patient information, evidence-based guidelines, and the latest research findings in real time. This wealth of information assists clinicians in making well-informed decisions about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options. Artificial intelligence algorithms can analyze patient data, compare it with similar cases, and provide treatment recommendations based on the most up-to-date evidence and guidelines. This integration of artificial intelligence with clinician expertise improves diagnostic accuracy, reduces diagnostic errors, and ensures that patients receive the most appropriate and effective treatments.

Over the past decade, artificial intelligence has gained significant acceptance across various domains, particularly in healthcare. It presents exciting opportunities for intelligent product design, innovative services, and novel business models. Nevertheless, the adoption of artificial intelligence also brings challenges related to privacy, security, and human rights that must be carefully considered and managed as per the regulatory requirement.

Artificial intelligence technologies in medicine come in diverse forms, ranging from virtual systems that leverage deep learning to manage health information, to cyber-physical solutions such as robots assisting surgeons or nanorobots delivering drugs. The power of artificial intelligence lies in its ability to recognize complex patterns and hidden structures, enabling image-based detection and diagnostic systems to perform on par with, if not  better than, human clinicians in some cases. Artificial intelligence-powered clinical decision support systems have the ability to reduce diagnostic errors, improve decision-making intelligence, and help in tasks like data extraction from electronic health records and documentations.

Precision medicine's approach includes multi-omic data, medical history, social/behavioural factors, and environmental knowledge to precisely characterize health and disease states and identify personalized therapeutic options for individuals. In this article, we will refer to precision medicine as the healthcare philosophy and research agenda stated above, whereas personalized care refers to the impact of that philosophy on individual patients.

Precision medicine empowers healthcare providers to access and present information that validates or modifies medical decisions based on the average patient, to instead tailor them to each individual's unique characteristics. It enables clinicians to deliver personalized care that considers the specific needs of each patient. The discoveries made through precision medicine open up possibilities that would have otherwise remained unknown or unexplored.

The convergence of artificial intelligence and precision medicine holds tremendous potential to transform healthcare. By incorporating artificial intelligence algorithms into precision medicine, healthcare professionals will process and analyze vast amounts of data, gaining valuable insights into complex diseases and developing personalized treatment strategies. Artificial intelligence augments clinician decision-making by providing real-time access to comprehensive patient information and evidence-based guidelines. However, ethical considerations and challenges must be carefully addressed to ensure the responsible and equitable use of artificial intelligence in precision medicine. With continued advancements in artificial intelligence technology and increased collaboration between artificial intelligence researchers and healthcare professionals, the future of precision medicine looks promising in improving patient outcomes and revolutionizing healthcare practices.

(The author is Dean, SPPSPTM, NMIMS University)


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