Two years ago, the WHO published the report Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence for Health, in which it recognized the great potential of artificial intelligence to improve the health of millions of people around the world, provided it is not misused.
These included improving the speed and accuracy of disease diagnosis and detection, facilitating clinical care, strengthening health research and drug development, and supporting various public health interventions such as disease surveillance, morbidity, outbreak response, and health system management, as well as allowing patients greater control over their health to have their own healthcare and better understand their evolving needs. Some of these applications are already underway today, and there is one area where experts expect major advances: hospital emergencies.
As explained by the researcher of the e-RLab group of the UOC eHealth Center, Oriol Yuguero, who is also responsible for the ERLab research group, research in emergencies and emergencies at the Lleida Biomedical Research Institute (IRBLleida) and head of the emergency service of the Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova (Lleida), digital health “must help us optimize the resources at our disposal and facilitate patient self-determination.” He adds that the aim is to improve care pathways and enable it , to reach remote places where communication is sometimes difficult. “The main thing is to save time and improve comfort. “In addition, there are more and more programs based on artificial intelligence that help patients choose the best resource for their emergency,” he says.
Some of these applications are already a reality. An example of this is emergencies in Catalonia. When a patient is treated through the Medical Emergency System, a digital preliminary report is created that hospital doctors can view before the patient arrives, giving them access to first-hand information about the most acute moment. “This improves the organization of the team caring for the patient and helps provide the necessary resources,” says Yuguero.
There are also applications that allow monitoring of patients at home after discharge from the emergency room, just as there are intelligence-based tools that help detect the fragility of patients going to the emergency room and thus facilitate follow-up visits in the Plan an emergency room. “At home. In fact, there will be more resources in the coming years,” he says.
This is also what the figures on investments in digital health say. According to a report by market research and consulting firm Mordor Intelligence, artificial intelligence in the medical market was valued at $4,490.3 million in 2020 and is expected to reach $34,882.58 million in 2026. This represents a growth of 39.8% over the forecast period (2021-2026). ).
Control from home and drones performing CPR
New technologies already being developed and expected to be launched soon include an application that could monitor traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients at home. “At IRBLleida we are working on this application with which we hope to avoid observation of patients in the emergency room, improve their comfort and prevent the occurrence of complications such as delirium. If this initiative works, it will be very important because traumatic brain injury is very common in older people,” explains Yuguero.
Another application of new technologies presented by experts at an emergency congress in Spain, which is expected to be developed to reduce the mortality rate due to cardiac arrest, is drones with defibrillators that perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) maneuvers. can initiate before staff arrive.
In addition, experts assume that in the coming years there will be a significant increase in technologies based on artificial intelligence, with which patients will have access to a lot of information and can make decisions about their health more precisely. However, this also means that these applications and technologies have a lot of patient information, which is why Yuguero believes that good regulation is needed to ensure the proper use of this information and avoid misuse.