Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first conceptualized in the 1950’s to craft a system that is indistinguishable from that of a human behavior. In its first six decades of journey, AI has witnessed numerous cycles of excitement and disappointment as well with apparently little advancement. But after 2010, with the substantial success of deep learning, popularity of AI enabled devices has gained new momentum. From driverless cars to drone based delivery, AI’s positive effects started resonating across all businesses and allured them with increased pace like never before. Nowadays, due to its fascinating benefits to the patients as well for the healthcare providers, AI enabled clinical trials and robotic surgeries are seen as a prime reason behind the greater usage of AI in healthcare world.
A Great Boon for Clinical Trials
There is a wide spread need of a technique that can boost the development of new drugs and evaluate its efficacy and safety and that can reduce the drug failure rate. Artificial Intelligence is seen as the potential technology that can counter these vital challenges.
Every year, approximately two million patients are required (in U.S alone) to carry forward 3000 clinical trials. But up to 90% of these trials get delayed or completed with an overpriced budget which ultimately costs the common citizens in terms of higher healthcare cost. AI, therefore, with the smart integration of deep learning technology can prove a boon for the healthcare sector by accelerating drug discovery process, reducing the number of failures in clinical trials, and can significantly reduce the cost of drug as well.
Besides improving trial quality, reducing trial times by almost half, and cutting costs, AI can assist in finding biomarkers and gene signatures that are seen as the reason for various diseases. This technology also assists in recruiting eligible patients in minutes that are required for clinical trial. It can read volumes of medical text in seconds as well. AI is on the tip of some of the breakthrough discoveries as well like: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other prolonged and deadly illnesses.
The biggest advantage of AI in clinical trial is its ability to explore operational data from past cases, evaluate responses to drugs, predict site performances, and decide whether a particular drug can bring positive, negative or no change at all and at what magnitude. Overall, AI will assist physicians to determine whether a particular trial will become successful or not. Reports predicted that AI will increase economic growth among diverse sectors by 1.7% by 2035 and will lead to increased productivity by over 40%. According to Carnegie Mellon University and Albert Ludwig University, AI has the potential to reduce the drug discovery cost by about 70%.
Many companies are now investing heavily on high end computing machines as well that integrates learning capability among them; IBM Watson is one such example. This supercomputing machine is capable of processing and interpreting millions of pages of scientific data in very shorter time. This feature makes it a desired one among the pharmaceutical companies who want to develop new drugs. Watson has successfully proved its ability to discover previously unknown connections between diseases. Due to its wide scale advantages, many top-notch companies are now collaborating with IBM Watson to read and understand scientific papers that gives clinical trial outcomes used to develop and evaluate medications and other treatments. Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Pfizer are few of those notable companies.
Robotic Surgeries: Helping Hand for Surgeons
Every person has many quarts of blood that flow through veins in all over the body. During surgery, blood loss always has been a big concern among the surgeons. Big cuts many times lead to more blood loss, deep scars, and sometimes makes patients’ body infectious as well which lead towards transfusion and other complications. Surgeons also face the problem of tremors and fatigue during long and complicated surgeries. Robotic surgery thus provides a great sigh of relief not only to the patients but to the surgeons as well.
Due to the small incisions, robotic surgery gives less trauma, less blood loss, less pain, shorter hospital stay, fewer complications, less risk of infection, faster recovery time, and minimal scarring to the patients as compared to the open surgery. Surgeons also feel empowered as the AI enabled robotic surgery provides a high degree of dexterity that permits surgeons to operate the surgery in very tight spaces that would otherwise only be possible through open (long incision) surgery. These are the reasons behind the popularity of robotic surgeries that is based on minimal invasion. This surgery is used under the supervision of adept surgeons where AI enabled computer robots assist surgeons in some specific surgical procedures.
The four arms of robots enable surgeons to execute the operation with greater visualization, and better precision as the surgeons are empowered with a computer console that can control miniaturized instruments mounted on robotic arms to make tiny incisions in the patient. During surgery, three or four arms of the robot are inserted into the patient though small incisions in the abdomen. One arm works as a camera, two act as the surgeon’s hands and the fourth arm is use to clear any obstruction which comes in the way. Patient is usually encircled by the surgical team, while the surgeon seats towards nearby console. The surgeon uses a viewfinder which provides a 3-D image of the entire surgical field, and the surgeon’s hands are then placed in special devices that direct the instruments motion. The surgeon’s hand movements spread through the computer console to the instruments attached to the robot’s arms. And since the robotic arms have the same range of motion sensors, it performs the same operation which otherwise needs surgeon’s hands to operate. The robotic arms filter out any tremors in the physician’s hands and increase the physician’s range of motion. This enhanced precision assists surgeons in executing delicate portions of procedures safely that too in a timely manner.
The quality of robotic surgeries has made robots very popular among the surgeons. And these days, robots are seen as a helping hand or an extended hand for doctors all across the globe. In 2016 alone, 4000 robots that are scattered all across the earth have assisted thousands of surgeons in executing more than 7,50,000 operations mostly related to prostate glands, uteruses, kidneys, colons, pancreas, thyroid, hearts, and other organs.
Increased use of automation in healthcare and higher demand for minimally-invasive surgical devices is thus fuelling the astounding growth of surgical robots all across the world. The global surgical robots marketplace is projected to grow at very fast pace during the period of 2017- 2023 with a CAGR of 22.75 percent.