Health & Environment

KSA to integrate AI across the healthcare sector by 2030

As part of its Vision 2030 initiative, Saudi Arabia is embarking on an ambitious journey to integrate AI across various sectors including healthcare.  
The progressive implementation of AI technologies in the day-to-day operations of hospitals and medical facilities can help bolster the kingdom’s healthcare infrastructure as it continues to establish itself as a global leader, writes Anna Cyrus-Murden, Assistant Dean of Simulation, Department of Clinical Skills at St George’s University, Grenada, West Indies.
Furthermore, according to the 2023 Artificial Intelligence Index Report by Stanford University, 76% of survey respondents in Saudi Arabia felt positive about AI products and services.
Streamline processes
Amid the global need for more physicians, the ability to streamline processes and delegate tasks to AI-powered tools and platforms has emerged as a critical intervention that has enabled medical practitioners to cover more ground in their day-to-day work. Thus, the use of AI in medicine demonstrates its potential to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and personalisation. 
The following innovations highlight how AI is revolutionising healthcare:
Diagnostic assistance
AI systems have been used to analyse medical images, such as X-rays and MRI scans. These tools help in diagnosing conditions like bone disease, cancer, dental issues, lung disease, and much more.
Examples of AI diagnostic assistance can also be found in disciplines such as cardiology, where deep learning algorithms diagnose heart attacks in a manner comparable to cardiologists. Similarly, in dermatology, AI platforms have been trained with clinical images to provide accurate classification for skin lesions and other dermatological pathologies.
Studies have demonstrated that AI has the capability to meet or exceed the performance of human experts in its diagnostic abilities, excelling in both accuracy and speed.
Robot-assisted surgery
Another emerging application of AI in healthcare involves its ability to augment surgical decision-making before, during, and after surgical procedures. This facet of AI utilisation is accomplished through the integration of information from a range of various data sources, such as surgical guidelines and research findings.
In some cases, surgical robots equipped with AI capabilities can assist surgeons in executing procedures with enhanced precision. The advantages provided to patients by the minimally invasive options made possible by robotic-assisted surgery include shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times, and reduced overall pain.
Medical education and training
Medical schools have initiated the integration of various AI tools into their Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs at several levels. Three (3) areas where AI applications are being utilised in medical education include:
Learner-oriented AI encompasses tools used by students to acquire and understand new information.
Instructor-oriented AI enables educators to streamline their tasks by reducing their workload, obtaining insights about student performance, and integrating new advancements into their teaching methodologies.
Institution-oriented AI helps inform decisions related to the management and administration of schools and educational programmes.
In practice, incorporating AI tools in medical education involves using AI-driven platforms that can adapt to individual learning styles, pace, and needs. Moreover, students can also immerse themselves in AI-powered simulations and virtual reality environments.  These technologies enable them to participate in clinical scenarios in a safe and controlled setting, facilitating the practice of clinical skills, surgical techniques, as well as diagnosis of illnesses. 
AI can also contribute to curriculum enhancement, by helping medical educators in designing dynamic, up-to-date curricula.  This is achieved by identifying areas for improvement, integrating new findings, and adapting teaching methodologies based on data-driven insights.
Natural Language Processing for healthcare records
AI-powered NLP systems have been found to have a transformative impact on how we utilise health care records.  Through the analysis and extraction of valuable information from unstructured medical records, these systems can significantly improve the efficiency of coding, billing and data management in healthcare.
In addition, AI-powered NLP systems play a pivotal role in facilitating the conversion of textual data into structured, usable information for analysis. They also assist in automating billing and coding processes, thereby improving accuracy, minimising errors, and expediting administrative workflow. Furthermore, AI can contribute to clinical decision-making by providing practitioners with critical data points, flagging potential issues, and suggesting possible treatment options.
The use of AI has revolutionised genomics by enhancing the analysis, interpretation, and application of biological data. AI algorithms enable faster and more precise genome than human experts, identifying patterns, mutations, and variations in DNA sequences — work that assists clinicians in understanding genetic diseases and traits more effectively.
Machine learning algorithms can predict disease risks by analysing an individual’s genetic composition, as well as anticipate how a person might respond to certain drugs or therapies. This newfound ability to customise treatment plans based on a patient’s genetic predisposition marks a significant transformation in the field of genomics.
Keep up with what’s next in medicine
The integration of AI into healthcare has transformed our approach to wellness and patient care. By harnessing data-driven insights and capabilities, AI has the potential to enhance outcomes, reduce disparities in treatment, and develop more efficient, patient-centered care.
Interest in integrating AI into public health has been steadily growing, especially in the realms of public health surveillance and predictive modeling. AI also emerges as a significant asset in shaping public health policies, owing to its capacity to integrate diverse datasets. This capability facilitates the extraction of insights that would prove challenging to acquire using conventional methods.
From redefining how diseases are diagnosed to pioneering tailored treatments and empowering patients with information, the journey of AI in medicine is ever-evolving as new capabilities are continually realised.--TradeArabia News Service