Home Healthcare: Bringing AI solutions to home for health care
The application of AI in Healthcare has brought about a paradigm shift in how patients and caregivers approach and react to the idea of better living and healthcare. Being healthy today is a sum total of good mental and physical health. Not surprisingly it has been challenging for caregivers to provide quality healthcare at home while minimizing costs, especially when it comes to senior citizens and critically ailing patients. With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, it is expected that the challenge would be significantly abated if not dissolved completely.
At Day One Technologies as a leading Artificial Intelligence development company, we have witnessed and been a part of the rapidly evolving healthcare sector. Considering the current global state, it is expected that AI will play a pivotal role in home-based care systems, especially in capturing, tracking, analyzing, and interpreting data.
For instance, the impact of AI in-home health care can be seen in the rise in the number of monitoring devices including fitness trackers and wear tech. It is estimated that by 2021 the number can be as high as 3.1 million devices (research by ABI Research) resulting in savings of billions of dollars.
What is Home-based Healthcare?
The power of technology in the healthcare paradigm has been immense, with its impact in the pharmaceutical, payer, institution and device manufacturing sector. But first things first, what is home healthcare.
Home healthcare or healthcare services at home is the idea and practice of providing healthcare services in the comfort of the patient’s home. With improvements in pharmaceuticals and overall healthcare systems, life expectancy is on the rise, which naturally requires to be complemented by quality healthcare services. Worldwide, the number of senior citizens has increased, and the idea is to bring healthcare services to them instead of them having to tour the hospitals. The concept also appeals to those with chronic illnesses, disability, or those requiring round-the-clock medical care.
The concept is also often extended to self-monitoring wearable devices in healthcare. In its simplest form, it includes fitness tracking devices, wearables for monitoring blood pressure, heart beat, blood sugar level, etc. While this does not fall into the exact definition of home healthcare, it is a precursor in that it empowers individuals to take control of their well-being and schedule checkups or care in time before matters get critical.
The Role of AI in Healthcare at Home
In 2019, the global home healthcare market was estimated at USD 281.8 billion (Source: Grand View Research). By 2022, it is forecast to reach USD 353.56 bn (Source: Markets and Markets). In North America and Europe, courtesy the availability of resources and improved government policies, the trend is significantly matured, and market players are gradually turning their attention to the thriving and more potential markets in Asia. Owing to its population base, Asia not only promises to be a lucrative market, but at its nascent stage, the market is a goldmine for investors and businesses to leverage the most from.
1.AI sensors for biometric based triggers
Value-based healthcare has been a trigger for the growth of in-home healthcare services. Worldwide there is growing adoption of its services among patients and agencies, leading to greater reliance on better quality technology to support the services. For instance, to track the health biometrics among senior citizens, AI based sensors can be used to track a patient’s biometric 24/7 even when resting or sleeping. Any anomaly, for instance slower heartbeat, or increased body temperature or pulse rate recorded can immediately trigger alerts to relevant healthcare givers or agencies.
2.Preventive care with AI applications and devices
Similarly, there are several examples of AI based mobile application solutions in healthcare that focuses on a specific medical condition and monitors and manages it through mobile applications. Take for instance, the need for maintaining diet and nutrition, for any medical condition such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac problem or any other. By manual or scanning medical records and consistently updating food intake, these applications can calculate nutritional value and warn in time. These applications can also recommend recipes and ingredients required based on nutritional value, or even the nearest store to buy it from (using GPS and navigation). When linked, these applications can in a routine way send reports to caregivers or authorized physicians, that help individuals save time, money and also be in track towards their overall health and wellness goals.
Remote care and monitoring has been a game changer, with more and more healthcare partners, caregivers and patients looking at it as a feasible solution, especially when medical care is expensive and accessibility is not always feasible.
3.AI voice assistants for updates and information
The impact of AI tools in healthcare especially for personal care can even be seen in voice assistant technology. Voice assistants, like Sir, Alexa or even Google Assistant can be used to set simple reminders for taking medicines, or checking the blood pressure, or setting an appointment, or simply seeking information about the nearest physician or symptoms for a disease.
Similarly, in several parts of the world, there are telemedicine services available that make healthcare systems cater to a wider range of patients. There are also AI based virtual nurse assistant services that guide and advice for self-care and management, especially considering the shortage of nursing services worldwide.
UCHealth for instance, has introduced a new virtual assistant ‘Levi’ available via Alexa, that helps patients to communicate with UCHealth and find information and care. (Source: Healthcareitnews, August 2019).
Conversational AI and voice assistants are expected to play a major part in the way the world communicates in the future. In healthcare too, there is a growing demand for virtual assistant development services, to keep one ready and ahead of times.
4.AI in Healthcare Insurance
The cost of healthcare insurance has been a matter of concern for people, caregivers and government alike. One of the key ways of AI transforming Healthcare is in insurtech. In order to provide customers (potential and existing) better coverage, health insurtech companies use AI-based machine learning programs to collect data from wearable devices and previous patient records. From tracking eating habits to fitness levels, sleep patterns are more, using sensor based devices, insurtech manages to not only cover their customers better but also mitigate risks, both for the customer and the agency.
Home healthcare with AI is a practical, reliable and effective form of preventive care. Geriatic diseases require routine and quick diagnosis and the right tools and data for reaching a decision. Even a decade ago, hospital admins and physicians spent a lot of time updating patient records in EMR. However, in recent times, with Artificial Intelligence in systems, there is a natural shift towards adopting digital technology. Moreover, considering the rising demand for physicians and caregivers (especially in rural sectors) AI tech provides solutions that aim to simplify and improve the means to good patient care.
Home Healthcare: Challenges and Roadblocks
AI is bringing change in the home healthcare section. Global organizations are leveraging the direct and extended opportunities available in the market, a fact that has given rise to the growth in mHealth applications worldwide. Monetizing from mHealth apps is a common occurrence, with more apps and devices being introduced to track, monitor and manage one’s biometric information for health care. But that being said, it is not as though there are no challenges that are there to overcome.
To begin with, there is the ongoing battle of digital technology in healthcare replacing doctors and physicians in real life. An AI system can record data, analyze and interpret it; it can also provide information and make recommendations. But when it comes to the personal touch and care of a physician or nurse or any healthcare assistant, it cannot provide the same care. In such cases, it is best to keep in mind that the role of AI technology is limited. It can predict, remind, suggest, in turn helping to save time and money, but it cannot bring the expertise and observations of a real physician.
Similarly, the use of AI-based Computer Vision in healthcare for instance has been on the rise, but while the technology can analyze images, it’s a physician who has the final word.
There has also been the case of privacy concerns on the extent of data collection and usage. At the root of any machine learning algorithm lies the availability of data. Hence, AI tools are always at work in collecting and analysing data. While this might be for a good cause (preventive healthcare) many patients are often concerned about the volume and nature of data collected and shared. This is all the more for healthcare at home where devices are being used to track all forms of data.
Artificial Intelligence in healthcare: The road ahead
And while these concerns are genuine and it will be some time before a solution can be worked out, there is little denying that AI systems and solutions have gone mainstream in healthcare. Artificial intelligence is still in its nascent form in that at its core lies the availability of data. Machine learning, computer vision and other AI analysys is improved based on the quality and quantity of data. With passing days, as data improves we can expect greater innovation driving the home healthcare market globally.
How we can help at Day One Technologies
At Day One Technologies we understand the threats and benefits of healthcare solutions with AI. We build custom solutions that cater to the deep concerns of data privacy, security and simplicity, that delivers positive outcomes every time. If you are looking at building an AI healthcare platform or application for a niche or global markets, we are the people who can do it for you. To know more about the scope of our work and offerings, Contact Day One today.