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ML in Healthcare: Transforming Diagnostics and Treatment

Last updated on: 
December 27, 2023
Vartika Rai
The fast well prepared banner
About The Author!
Vartika Rai
Vartika Rai
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. With exceptional experience with tech giants like Microsoft, she is a curious lady for the vast scope of NLP, Big data analytics, ML and data science.

Machine learning has provided substantial results encouraging confidence in its usage and prediction. Exhibiting 92% accuracy in predicting the mortality of COVID-19 patients, Machine Learning has strengthened its position in healthcare. With the ability to decipher intricate patterns followed by AI’s own capability to generate data while also being trained from real-world data, Machine Learning is rapidly shaping the medical professionals' approach to diagnosis, treatment and patient care. 

Here’s what we’ll cover in the article: 

  • How is Machine Learning Used in Healthcare?
  • Types of Machine Learning for Healthcare
  • Future Prospects of AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare
  • Challenges in Machine Learning for Healthcare 2023
  • FAQs about Machine Learning in Healthcare
  • Ace Your Career in ML and Healthcare with Interview Kickstart

How is Machine Learning Used in Healthcare?

What do experts say?

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application.” -Satya Nadella
(CEO, Microsoft)

Machine Learning applications in healthcare shine forth as follows:

Machine Learning in Healthcare

Medical image analysis: Deep learning techniques like CNNs excel at image segmentation and feature extraction. Images like CT scans, MRIs and X-rays. 

Diseases diagnosis and prediction: It helps in diagnosing diseases through patient data analysis and input of information like symptoms and medical history. It can also predict disease stages, progression rate, risks, outcomes and suitable early interventions. 

Drug discovery: It helps to generate, search and predict potential drug candidates and their mechanism of action at the molecular level. They can also simulate molecular interactions and organ and tissue environments. 

Personalized medicine: It states personalized treatment plans based on patients' data. It reduces the trial-and-error approach and minimizes adverse effects. It can also recognize fraudulent cases. 

Reduced Diagnostic Errors: Analyzing multiple cases and their reports with accuracy is challenging in the human world. Machines capable of intelligently performing the task are the need of the hour. Machine learning helps to achieve the same. 

Ethical and Regulatory Considerations: ML applications in healthcare must be carefully met with ethical and regulatory considerations. The usage must be accompanied by information on data processing, usage and storage. It must also promise privacy, transparency and explainability to the patients. 

Robot-Assisted Surgery: Machine learning healthcare offers precision, aids to simplify complex procedures and allows remote control to facilitate surgery regardless of the location. Gaining regulatory approvals, undergoing proper risk management strategies, and specializing are among the significant components of the aspect. 

Robot-assisted surgery

Drug Response Predictions: ML in healthcare can predict patients’ response to drugs, state different scenarios and help doctors prepare for worst-case and unpredictable scenarios. Accordingly, it can also help in taking preventive measures to avoid such circumstances. 

Assisting in Clinical Research and Trials: It can quickly filter out the patients based on their eligibility criteria while curating trial design and planning. Predictive analytics can be leveraged to identify the patient’s response to treatments accordingly to modify the protocols and interventions. 

Remote patient monitoring: IoT devices and wearable sensors efficiently collect patient data and send the information to clinicians. It removes the limitation for patients to be confined in a hospital setting and serves advantage for chronic conditions and adhering to the treatment plans. 

Physical robots: They are employed for tasks like patient care, rehabilitation and surgery. 

AI in healthcare

Types of Machine Learning for Healthcare

Types of approaches to machine learning in healthcare are as follows:

Natural language processing: It extracts insights from clinical notes, doctor-patient interactions and medical literature. Further, it also helps to automate tasks like summarizing patient records, identifying relevant information and medical coding. 

Process automation: These are necessary to save time with efficiency in administrative tasks, including processing claims, billing and appointment scheduling. 

Neural networks and deep learning: Deep learning techniques like Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) serve usage in medical image analysis and classification tasks. It includes image segmentation and tumor detection. 

Predictive analytics: It helps to predict disease outbreaks, hospital readmissions, and patient deterioration, thus enabling timely interventions. It was utilized for Covid-19 as well in different countries. 

Types of AI in healthcare

Rule-based expert systems: Here, the systems comprise medical knowledge encrypted as rules. It assists in treatment recommendation and diagnostic reasoning while also serving as a helping hand in decision support. It also offers several challenges, such as inaccurate results on the presence of excess rules. 

Time series analysis: Acts to track the measurements over time. The real-life application predicts patient outcomes by monitoring vital signs and disease progression. 

Ensemble and Transfer learning: Ensemble learning combines distinct models for predictive performance. Transfer learning involves pre-training a model in a large dataset followed by fine-tuning for a specific task using a smaller dataset. 

Bayesian methods: It uses probabilistic reasoning to update beliefs about hypotheses based on new evidence. They are valuable for decision-making under clinical trials, uncertainty and personalized medicine. 

Federated learning: It allows training models across different institutions while keeping patient data local. It is effective in maintaining privacy and is used for collaborative research and model building. 

Future Prospects of AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare

Machine learning in healthcare has the following future prospects:

Early Detection: Some of the priorly undiagnosable medical conditions, like cancer in adults and health problems in neonates, require biomarkers for early detection. Machine learning training through vast amounts of data provides hope for future diagnostics and effective detection of biomarkers for early and preventive stage identification of lethal diseases. 

Medicine and Cellular Biology: With information on genetics, proteins, and other intermediate molecules, the right diagnosis at the cellular level is very effective in treatment measures. The advancement of ML for healthcare offers promising insights at cellular and molecular levels with information on the mechanism of action. 

Real-time diagnostics: Machine learning and healthcare might also merge to provide accurate real-time diagnostic data through wearable sensors. Replacing this with large machines with long lines to get the checkup, the idea can change the entire healthcare industry. 

Explainable AI: One of the key fields requiring explainable AI in healthcare. Informing the rationale behind the decisions will provide confidence to use the proposed treatment method and offer the opportunity to propose experience-driven changes. 

Efficient recognition: The AI using computer vision can efficiently process the images, such as from phones, to identify the medical condition. Further, virtual medical assistants and chatbots can provide better assistance through more detailed and precise discussions to diagnose medical conditions. Telemedicine is capable of providing specialized care to remote areas. 

Challenges in Machine Learning for Healthcare 2023

Challenges of healthcare machine learning include:

  • Data privacy and security require detailed intervention with the need for publishing guidelines to be followed strictly. Compliance with regulations like HIPAA is important. 
  • Lack of explainable AI in current systems. 
  • Rigorous testing and approval processes for regulatory approval are time-consuming. 
  • Lack of access to quality data. 
  • Harm to patients through ML is a legal issue with whom to account. 
  • Fitting ML tools into clinical environments and existing EHR systems remains challenging.

Interview Kickstart To Ace the Career in ML and Healthcare

The fusion of machine learning and healthcare has unlocked a new era of possibilities. Providing ease to both clinicians and patients, it has room for promising diagnoses. It also unlocks the opportunity to dive into locked realms of healthcare, such as the inability to detect early stages of cancer or predict the occurrence of specific diseases. 

With the need to overcome current challenges with aced-up technological advancements, numerous opportunities seek contributions from learned and skilled professionals. With AI and domain-specific knowledge, IK brings you the platform to brush up your skills and master the foolproof strategy to nail interviews at FAANG companies. Register now for the Machine Learning Interview Masterclass

FAQs about Machine Learning in Healthcare

Q1. How accurate is machine learning in healthcare? 

The accuracy of machine learning in healthcare varies depending on the data quality and quantity, problem complexity and real-world implementation. However, the error rates have been seen to be significantly low compared to human error rates. 

Q2. What are the potential drawbacks of using AI and machine learning in healthcare?

Currently, lack of transparency and responsibility with bias in data and algorithms pose major drawbacks in using AI and machine learning in healthcare. 

Q3. How is deep learning used in healthcare?

Deep learning can analyze complex medical images, detect patterns in genetic data and predict clinical outcomes. 

Q4. How is machine learning used in clinical research?

Machine learning is used in clinical research to identify eligible participants to accelerate the R&D sector, data analysis, safety monitoring and outcome prediction. 

Q5. What diseases can be detected using machine learning? 

Diseases like cancer, cardiovascular conditions, infectious diseases, diabetes, respiratory conditions and many more can be detected using machine learning. 

Posted on 
September 4, 2023

Vartika Rai

Product Manager at Interview Kickstart | Ex-Microsoft | IIIT Hyderabad | ML/Data Science Enthusiast. Working with industry experts to help working professionals successfully prepare and ace interviews at FAANG+ and top tech companies

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