As the Intelligent Automation (IA) community strives to comprehend and broaden knowledge to determine where IA can be fruitful, one area that cannot be ignored is the ability to save lives. When we think of the typical use cases of IA, we might think of how it is most utilized to improve efficiency and accuracy in a business or administrative environment. Although these are valuable areas for IA implementation, the value can also translate to help solve critical inefficiencies within the medical field regarding time and accuracy.
Decreasing Medical Error
According to Intelligent Automation by Bornet-Barkin-Writz, medical errors account for over 250,000 deaths per year. People make mistakes whether it be due to miscalculation, being misinformed, or due to factors such as lack of sleep. For whatever the reason behind these errors, they could potentially have been prevented using IA. Utilizing IA as a tool to double check medication amounts and catch discrepancies before they turn into tragic deaths could aid in cutting these medical error deaths by a significant percentage. Unlike a human, automation does not get tired, automation does not have any other job besides functioning as intended. In a time where medical professionals are tired and strung thin, IA can relieve them from manually entering and retrieving data as well as give them peace of mind their decisions are backed by the correct information.
Early and Accurate Detection
Another notable advantage IA can provide for the medical field is the ability to memorize and create patterns with data such as heart rates and blood pressure to help predict life-threatening conditions. IA leverages machines learning not only to track data but to also more accurately analyze scans to identify breast and lung cancer in a matter of seconds rather than days. An estimated 42,500 deaths occur yearly due to breast cancer and a staggering 130,180 deaths due to lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most common and hardest cancer to distinguish, making early detection methods essential. IA has the potential to detect the warning signs of lung cancer through recognizing patterns in patients’ medical data or identifying patterns in tissue scans through optical character recognition (OCR). IA early detection and diagnosis can significantly increase survival rate and reduce complexity of treatment required.
Accessibility to Care
Although accessibility to affordable care is a global issue, many developing, and third-world countries’ struggles are substantial due to lack of a health care infrastructure, poverty, and medical professional to patient ratios. 2020 Finch Research Group study shows in India there are only 8 physicians to every 10,000 people. These developing countries have prevalent issues with lack of resources, leading common illnesses to turn fatal. So how exactly can IA make a difference? IA has the capacity to bring healthcare to heavily populated and remote areas simply by smartphone. Four fifths of the global population have access to mobile phones, meaning adequate care could be just a call away. Although technology cannot administer lifesaving medications and provide medical equipment, it can diagnose and educate on common aliments helping to free the already critically burdened medical professionals. IA used to help take these small steps in the direction of preventable suffering, along with the continuously developing efforts to provide medication, vaccines, and safe drinking water, can help to improve the lives of billions around the globe.