05 Dec 23

The Advancing World of Precision Medicine: AI in Healthcare

Sofia Basu

AI advancements in healthcare have heralded a new era in patient care. The ever advancing precision medicine is central to this evolution—an approach which acknowledges individual differences in genetics, environment, and lifestyle to craft precise treatments. The amalgamation of AI and this advancing precision medicine is more than an evolution; it’s a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery. AI’s proficiency in analyzing vast datasets encompassing genetic information, patient records, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors empowers healthcare professionals to unravel intricate patterns and correlations, enabling the prediction of diseases, earlier diagnoses, and tailored treatments.


Real-World Applications Transforming Healthcare:


AI and Big Data in Cancer Research and Treatment


AI in healthcare






The escalating global cancer burden has intensified the need for effective treatments and the recent AI advancements in healthcare have provided some solutions. AI and big data emerge as pivotal tools in early cancer detection. Access to vast datasets like CCLE—an encyclopedia of over 1,000 cancer cell lines—accelerates cancer research, aiding in understanding cancer biology and assessing drug efficacy.

For instance, Oncora Medical’s patient care platform integrates electronic health records, cancer registries, and software used in oncology clinics. Utilising Machine Learning (ML), identifies patients at the highest risk of adverse events. The MD Anderson Cancer Center’s implementation reduced data documentation time by a staggering 67%, allowing clinicians to focus on patient care.




AI and Big Data in Disease Detection


Advancing precision medicine







Whether for cancer or autoimmune disorders, early detection significantly impacts patient outcomes. AI and big data expedite diagnosis by leveraging technological advances like gene sequencing. PeraHealth’s Rothman Index, utilizing data from Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and ML, aids clinicians in real-time patient monitoring. Its implementation at Yale-New Haven Health saw a 29% reduction in sepsis-related mortality and a 14% decrease in hospital readmission rates at Shannon Skilled Nursing Facility.





AI and Big Data in Drug Discovery


Advancing precision medicine through drug discovery






AI advancements in healthcare have significantly accelerated the drug discovery process, transforming what was once an arduous journey. The Innoplexus AI platform plays a crucial role in this evolution by collecting and processing vast unstructured data, contributing to the prediction of clinical trial outcomes. In the pursuit of advancing precision medicine, its predictive prowess were notably demonstrated in foreseeing the failure of Biogen’s drug for Alzheimer’s disease, causing a nearly one-third reduction in market value. AI’s capability to forecast drug responses based on genetic information and medical history is instrumental in minimizing adverse effects, ensuring the creation of safer drugs tailored to specific patient groups.





Ongoing Challenges Using AI in Advancing Precision Medicine:


The integration of AI in this advancing precision medicine holds immense promise but despite the recent AI advancements in healthcare, its transition from experimental success to real-world healthcare applications faces significant challenges. The efficiency of an AI system’s transformation into a real-world application depends not only on accuracy but also on its reliability, safety, and generalizability.


Fairness and Bias:


Healthcare analytics monitoring






Health data can carry inherent biases due to a lack of diverse sampling, missing values, and imputation methods, which, if unaddressed, may be amplified by AI models, leading to non-favorable decisions toward specific groups. Unconscious biases based on age, gender, race, geography, or economic level could impact clinical applicability and health quality. Detecting and mitigating biases in data and models is crucial. Solutions involve improving data diversity, such as the All of Us program aimed at diverse participant recruitment, thus advancing precision medicine. Recent AI advancements in healthcare have caused AI communities to propose techniques to combat bias. IBM’s AI Fairness 360 toolkit, for example, implements fairness metrics and algorithms to mitigate bias in classifiers. However, defining and addressing fairness and bias in AI models trained with historical patient data requires further exploration and collaborative efforts within the biomedical community.


Socio-Environmental Factors:


The environment in which AI models operate significantly influences their performance and clinical efficacy. In prospective studies assessing AI advancements in healthcare, for instance, the utilization of AI systems in real clinical settings—such as Google Health’s diabetic retinopathy screening—has revealed unexpected challenges. In the pursuit of advancing precision medicine, these systems encountered hurdles in diverse clinical conditions and workflows. Variations in conditions led to impaired image quality, impacting processing speeds due to unstable internet connections and resulting in higher image rejection rates. Such studies underscore the importance of validating AI models in various clinical environments and incorporating user feedback to iteratively enhance the system before widespread implementation. However, obtaining and integrating such feedback in healthcare involves considerable time and cost, prompting exploration of innovative approaches, like synthetic data generation or simulated environments, to refine AI systems.


Data Safety and Privacy:


As AI converges with the ever advancing precision medicine, vast and diverse datasets encompassing genomics, medical history, behaviours, and social data are collected and integrated. Data privacy concerns, essential for user trust, require robust ecosystems for data storage, management, and sharing. This necessitates AI advancements in healthcare, as well as collaborations, new regulations, and business models to establish safe and controlled data ecosystems.

The intersection of AI and precision medicine shows promise in reshaping healthcare tasks for medical professionals and consumers alike. Augmented intelligence’s role in communicating real-time risk or driving behaviour change through technology interfaces holds potential for personalized care and disease prevention. Despite the AI advancements in healthcare, challenges like bias mitigation, environmental adaptability, and data privacy underscore the need for continuous research and collaboration in AI and advancing precision medicine.


In Summary:


Proactive research to both the advancing of  AI and advancing precision medicine offers a glimpse into a future where healthcare tasks for professionals and consumers are augmented with advanced medical insights. The synergy between these forces aligns with the goal of preventing diseases at an individual level, potentially reducing the disease burden for society and the associated healthcare costs.


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