The World Health Organization defines health as the “state of complete physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” The human body is an organized yet complex organ system that works day and night. Taking care of our bodies is extremely important, and looking after our health not only includes how we look on the outside but how we feel on the inside as well.
Every day, the global population is battling a myriad of diseases, such as-
The healthcare industry has seen a massive change over the past ten years. From witnessing technological advances, to new epidemics, to functioning highly in the state of complete lockdown due to a global pandemic in the past, the healthcare industry has come a long way.
Let’s take a look at the most recent and critical healthcare statistics which reflect how this industry one of the largest and fastest growing in the world-
The global healthcare industry was worth $8.45 trillion in 2018.
The U.S. healthcare industry is the third-largest in the world.
According to recent healthcare industry statistics, the healthcare industry will continue to expand. Healthcare employment is predicted to grow by 15 percent by 2029, leading to an additional 2.4 million jobs being added to the industry.
When we look at the healthcare sector, ‘Digital Healthcare’ is the new term that has emerged.
Digital healthcare refers to a digital medical care delivery system that utilizes various technological advances to make quality medical care services more accessible, sustainable, and affordable for people.
The digital system comprises patient portals, virtual visits, telehomecare, electronic health records, telehealth, and many other services.
As the whole healthcare industry continues to benefit from digital advances, it slowly realizes the value of a “virtual healthcare assistant.”
A virtual medical or healthcare assistant is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered web service that helps identify patients’ illnesses based on the symptoms they are experiencing, oversees their health status, schedules doctor appointments, and provides other medical services.
The demand for virtual healthcare services peaked during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when patients’ ability to visit doctors was severely limited.
Virtual health technology has made healthcare organizations more efficient in delivering and managing medical services for the long term.
An AI-powered virtual healthcare assistant could have a wide range of features determined by its target audience and intended purpose. Some of the main features of a health AI assistant are mentioned below-
Natural Language Processing, or NLP, is integral to linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence. It concerns how computers can be programmed to process and analyze natural language data.
Thus, NLP will enable the virtual health service provider to understand and deliver responses to user input in natural language. Patients can interact and ask the virtual assistant health-related questions using speech or text without using specific commands or syntax.
Through the use of a virtual medical assistant, patients can gain access to a good amount of medical information as well as informative materials such as videos, articles, and different interactive tools that can aid them in gaining a better understanding of their symptoms, health conditions, medications, as well as the available treatment options.
With the touch of AI-based personalization, customized information and support can be delivered to patients. It involves providing recommendations to users as per their health goals and preferences.
A virtual health assistant should also be able to give reminders and alerts to users regarding their medication, scheduled appointments with doctors, and exercise routines to provide them with an improved and better patient experience.
Users can get a preliminary diagnosis by asking the virtual medical assistant questions about their symptoms and personal medical history. In addition to this, they can also get suggestions for their medical care.
Apart from the physical symptoms, how the body feels mentally and emotionally is also an integral part of our well-being. Hence, the AI-powered assistant must-have features that support mental health, such as meditation exercises, recommendations, and resources on managing anxiety and depression.
Virtual healthcare assistants should be able to connect to wearable devices such as smartwatches to give users efficient suggestions based on their sleep patterns, stress patterns, activity levels, etc.
There is a range of AI-powered virtual medical assistants in the market today. Some of the top ones are given below-
Ada is a Germany-based health company founded by Claire Novorol, a British pediatrician, Martin Hirsch, and Daniel Nathrath in 2011. The company operates Ada, an end-user self-assessment web application that analyses patients’ symptoms and offers personalized health advice.
Buoy Health is a digital health company. It was founded on January 1, 2014, by Andrew Le, Adam Lathram, Eddie Reyes, and Nathanael Ren. Buoy Health is another top virtual medical assistant that provides patients with personalized health advice based on their symptoms.
Infermedica is an AI-powered virtual health platform founded on June 01, 2012, by Piotr Orzechowski, Irving Loh MD FACC FAHA FCCP FACP, and Robert Sicconi. The company’s digital health platform comprises intelligent healthcare technologies that allow early symptom diagnosis.
Your.MD is a Norway-based digital health tech company founded in 2013 by Henrick Pettersen. The medical guidance platform utilizes artificial intelligence to provide users with personalized health information via a chatbot.
Sensely is a digital health platform founded on May 01, 2013, by Adam Odessky and Ivana Schnur. It provides insurance and healthcare resources to patients when they need them.
HealthTap is a virtual healthcare company that delivers telehealth virtual healthcare through the web and health apps. It was founded in 2010 by Ron Gutman, Satry Nanduri, Sean K Mehra, and Geoff Rutledge. The company is headquartered in California.
K Health is a digital healthcare company founded in 2016 by Adam Singolda, Israel Rolda, Allon Bolch, and Ran Shaul. The platform is a data-driven digital primary care system that utilizes artificial intelligence to deliver personalized healthcare services.
Babylon Health is a digital health service provider integrating an artificial intelligence-powered platform with virtual clinical operations for patients. It was founded in 2013 by Ali Parsa.
Given below are some of the main benefits of having a virtual medical assistant-
With the creation of AI-powered virtual healthcare assistants, patients can now seek healthcare advice and support from the comfort of their homes, ultimately decreasing the need for in-person appointments. Not only this, but such web services are simultaneously improving access to healthcare for people in areas who have limited access to them and for patients who are unable to travel.
AI-powered virtual health assistants are a great way via which patients can manage their health status. Nowadays, such web services not only provide symptom diagnosis but also give personalized recommendations, reminders for taking medication, exercise routines, and other health-related services.
A virtual healthcare assistant is a great fit to meet the needs of healthcare professionals as they continue to grow in their field. Such machines can also take care of routine tasks such as appointment scheduling and record keeping, freeing up the staff members’ time to devote their focus to more complex tasks.
Hence, virtual healthcare assistants can manage various tasks, allowing professionals to focus solely on their growth.
The global pandemic changed the contours of the healthcare sector overnight. A few years ago, telemedicine and telehealth were seen as far-fetched concepts, but the demand for these services grew during COVID-19.
It shows how medical practices should carry a virtual aspect to them. Virtual health assistants are valuable assets in the healthcare sector as they can work at variable hours and are well-equipped to utilize online systems and communication to conduct business.
How an AI-powered web service manages tasks and how humans oversee work are entirely different. Virtual medical assistants have specialized skills and training that differentiate them from those working in your office, even reducing the risk of human error.
People with a healthcare background, who wish to grow in this sector, can benefit from the skills and knowledge of virtual medical assistants in a business setting.
Through the use of virtual assistants, healthcare providers can manage their resources in a better manner by identifying patients who require urgent medical attention, lending support for chronic disease management, and other such services.
Working with virtual healthcare assistants is very cost-effective as they can provide efficient medical services and reduce the need for in-person appointments and the likelihood of hospital readmissions.
A tech stack employed to build an AI-powered virtual healthcare assistant. The combination of the various technological tools mentioned below would help in curating a health assistant that offers instant and efficient personalized health advice to patients.
Note- Apart from the tech stack mentioned below, a professional team of data scientists, software developers, UI designers, and healthcare professionals are also required to create a digital health assistant.
Machine Learning is a field of inquiry. It is concerned with understanding and building methods that use data to improve performance on a specific set of tasks. Similarly, machine learning algorithms analyze patient data and give personalized health.
Natural Language Processing (NPL) is another branch of artificial intelligence that allows machines to interpret human language. Using natural language processing tools in virtual health assistants helps the digital health device understand patient symptoms and queries.
The virtual healthcare assistant, via cloud computing, can store and process large amounts of data produced by the virtual assistant. It allows health assistants to handle multiple quantities of patient information and quickly respond to the users.
A great U.I. design goes a long way as it makes your application easy to use and gives you health advice instantly and efficiently.
Security tools such as firewalls, encryption, and secure data storage are integral for protecting and maintaining their health records’ confidentiality.
Application Program Interface or API is a way via which two or more computer programs communicate with each other. Integrating API in the virtual medical assistant system would allow communication with other health systems, such as health monitoring devices, Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and healthcare providers.
One of the primary aspects of developing a virtual healthcare assistant involves accessing sensitive health information that must be secured at all costs. Hence, data privacy and security are significant concerns, and developers must ensure that their systems comply with strict privacy and security standards to shield data information.
Health AI assistants need to provide symptom diagnosis, clinical advice, and recommendations only after considerable clinical testing and validation have been carried out.
Access to high-quality data is necessary when creating an AI-powered virtual healthcare assistant. Sometimes, it is limited in certain areas, leading to the assistant providing less accurate predictions and recommendations. This drawback can become a significant challenge to its effectiveness.
Virtual health assistants must be combined with the existing healthcare systems to provide patients with a smooth experience. However, this can pose a challenge as different healthcare systems use other technologies and protocols.
AI-powered health web services can also raise specific ethical concerns, such as discrimination and bias during decision-making. Hence, developers need to tackle this obstacle by designing such machines ethically so that they do not indulge in bias or prejudice.
The development of virtual healthcare assistants must also ensure compliance with several regulatory guidelines, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations in the United States. Adherence to these regulations is challenging as significant resources and expertise is required.
Given below is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to develop a virtual healthcare assistant-
The first step towards developing a virtual health assistant is to decide on the specific purpose and the features that your virtual healthcare assistant would comprise. In addition, you need to decide which tasks the AI-powered web service will perform, what health topics it should cover, and what target audience it will serve. By focusing on all of these aspects, the development process would become smoother.
The health assistants can be made more efficient, and resources such as medical databases, research papers, and medical textbooks must be utilized to gather information. The data collected needs to be formatted to be used for machine learning.
The next step in the development process is determining the machine learning model you wish to use, such as a rule-based system, deep learning neural network, or decision tree. After this has been decided, a machine learning algorithm must be developed to process the data and train the AI-powered web service regarding relevant medical information.
Training the model is one of the most critical steps of the whole process. The machine learning model needs to be taught about the prepared data, and the dataset adjusts the parameters and ensures the model can efficiently identify the patterns and predict outcomes.
A chatbot platform with natural language processing capabilities must be integrated into the model. It will allow the virtual assistant to interact with users via speech or text.
Test the virtual assistant to ensure it can serve the specific audience correctly. Collect feedback that comes your way, and make the necessary adjustments.
Launch your fully developed Health AI assistant by deploying it on a platform where users can access it, such as a mobile app or a website. Make sure that the service complies with data privacy regulations and is secure.
Monitor and analyze the virtual health assistant’s performance to find potential lags or issues. Gather all the feedback and simultaneously make the necessary changes required.
Building an AI-powered virtual healthcare assistant requires proficiency in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and other related areas. It is integral to lay out a plan that defines the purpose and target audience and gather high-quality data to make a practical virtual medical assistant.
Hence, developing an AI-powered virtual assistant is not child’s play; this is where Idea Usher comes in. With our expertise and experience, we can help you build a powerful AI-powered Virtual healthcare companion that enhances the quality of services provided in the medical sector.
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ANS: A virtual medical or healthcare assistant is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered web service that helps identify patients’ illnesses based on the symptoms they are experiencing, oversees their health status, schedules doctor appointments, and provides other such medical services.
An AI-powered health assistant must not be confused with a virtual medical assistant who is a remote executive who performs administrative tasks related to doctors and healthcare professionals.
ANS: Developing a virtual health assistant involves accessing sensitive health information that must be secured at all costs. Hence, data privacy and security are significant concerns, and developers must ensure that their systems comply with strict privacy and security standards to shield data information.
ANS: There is a wide range of tools required to build a Virtual healthcare companion service, such as machine learning, natural language processing, cloud computing, user interface, etc.
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