AI ensures that patients’ access to advanced new treatments is a right, not a privilege
Over the last five years, artificial intelligence and machine learning have significantly altered and expanded the realm of possibilities for life-changing developments across the entire healthcare sector. Not only has AI helped to prevent, detect and treat an array of diseases and disorders, it continues to adjust, evolve and learn alongside the industry.
Within healthcare, the world of cancer treatment is beginning to embrace the potential of AI. From doctors to patients, the industry is poised to leverage the power of AI to address the unmet needs that exist within the field; and it all starts with making sure that every cancer patient in the world has access to the most advanced treatments available.
This isn’t science fiction – it’s here and it’s now!
It all starts with clinical trials, many of which ultimately result in better outcomes compared with the standard of care and are critical elements to bringing new, lifesaving treatments to patients. However, while 70 percent of adult cancer patients are willing to participate in clinical trials, less than 5 percent of these patients actually enroll.
Not only is the healthcare system’s search process too complicated, overwhelming and confusing, it is near impossible for oncologists to be aware of the myriad of treatment options available for their patients.
For cancer patients, it can be extremely disheartening to recognize that hurdles to treatment are not due to the willingness of patients or physicians, but, rather, the sheer volume of information and their inability to sift through it all.
So, that begs a series of important questions: How can patients seize control of their care, own their cancer journey and access the best treatment available for their exact condition? How can patients know if they are eligible for a particular treatment? How can we democratize cancer care and expand access to advanced new treatments for patients everywhere?
This is where AI comes in.
AI ensures that patients’ access to advanced new treatments is a right, not a privilege.
AI does not discriminate based on a patient’s geography or socioeconomic status. It can easily read through large volumes of cancer research data and clinical trial protocols in a fraction of the time it would take a human. It can translate complex medical jargon into layman’s terms and evaluate a patient’s medical condition against a list of eligibility criteria. All of these factors ultimately help patients to pinpoint their options and make the best decisions for themselves.
By harnessing the power of AI, not only can patients identify relevant cancer trials, they also have an opportunity to form deeper connections and partnerships with their doctor. AI allows patients to feel empowered and in control, all the while giving them an active role to play in managing their cancer journey. Patients are set up for success in this new world of healthcare, where cancer treatment plans are not dictated to them.
We can take AI to the next level of deep learning and predictive models by reading through past publications and reading through other patient’s data to identify treatment options not just based on pathway and National Cancer Institute guidance, but through the use of real world data to identify treatment options all the way to predicting success of treatments for the specific patient. All of a sudden real world evidence will be shared with all patients and their doctors and quality decisions will be made, not just based on one clinic’s or one oncologist’s knowledge and data, but truly on accumulated data points of millions of patients.
AI’s benefits must remain free for patient use and help to drive down costs across the entire healthcare industry.
For patients, AI has the power to help alleviate the financial strains typically associated with fighting cancer. At a macro level, overcoming clinical trial recruitment issues with AI has the potential to greatly reduce a drug’s time to market, as well as lead to reduced operational costs and other inefficiencies that result from the inability to recruit and retain the right patients for clinical trials – all of which has the potential to reduce the ultimate cost to patients.
In the end, in today’s healthcare environment, patients who receive a cancer diagnosis should not experience added labors just to find the right treatment for them. There need to be choices that are easy to understand and easy to make sense of. When we go shopping for anything – from booking a vacation to buying a house – we are afforded the ability to look around and compare our options. There is no reason this shouldn’t apply to our healthcare system – AI makes this possible.
The bottom line is that healthcare should not intimidate patients. Groundbreaking new technologies, like AI and machine learning, give patients the ability to be their own best guide and their best advocate.