Until very recently, many of the articles that discussed the applications of artificial intelligence in dermatology (along with other futuristic technologies) were left to mostly speculation. However, the goals always remained the same: create an intelligent healthcare environment dedicated to streamlining workflow efficiency for faster, better and smarter care.
The Status of the Dermatology Industry
Currently, the field of dermatology is faced with slow communication channels, inefficient documentation systems, and in-cohesive software that fails to work in unison with one another. Unsurprisingly, this has serious negative consequences on the workflow efficiency of dermatologists along with their provided quality of care.
As a result, when a doctor sees a patient, there are often minimal ways to document the experience for future reference. For example, pictures and handwritten notes can become damaged with age or challenging to read. Alternatively, even when equipped with an EMR system for imaging, the physician will still spend a majority of their time capturing images one by one, then uploading and documenting them to the patient’s profile. Time consuming and labor-intensive processes limit the amount of time the physician can actually focus on the patient case while failing to fully capture the experience.
The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Dermatology
With the development of cool technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence, there are nearly unlimited possibilities of what they can do to support the ever-growing field of healthcare. Imagine arriving to the practice of the future. Equipped with the smartest tools pioneering the healthcare industry, there is one clear objective: reduce examination visits to a couple of clicks.
This efficient experience ensures that all valuable data relating to the patient’s visit is thoroughly recorded while enabling the physician to make clearer decisions upon subsequent visits:
1.Augmented Reality: Instead of having to manually examine a patient’s body for changes in spots, now you can see all changes to the skin immediately updated on a screen. Studies show that medical experts dedicate nearly 50% of their time to desk work, when it should be focused on on effective patient care. Augmented reality can help physicians identify key changes from previous visits for enhanced insights relating to treatment efficacy and decisions.
2.Artificial Intelligence: In 21st century healthcare it is all about big data and how it is being used. With the power of artificial intelligence (AI), this valuable information captured from exams can be utilized towards making better informed clinical decisions. For example, smart tools such as Visual Search allow dermatologists to review visually similar dermoscopic images to their submitted case, providing valuable data on those previous cases such as diagnosis type and risk of malignancy.
Another area set for vast improvement is total body photography. Imagine a scenario where full body images are fully captured and inputted into dermatology EMR software that will identify all spots in an image, apply them to a virtual body map and then determine any changes over time to the skin. Instead of having the dermatologist rely on the naked eye and hand written notes, intelligent full-body imaging software can serve as a valuable support tool to help the expert determine the status of the patient’s health with an evidenced-based diagnosis.
The Future: Vision and Challenges
MetaOptima’s vision is to develop cool gadgets and smart devices to help medical professionals to better document their experience. A combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, and other cool technologies are making way for better, faster, and more effective clinical decisions for optimized patient outcomes.
However, it is simultaneously important to remember that at this point in time the majority of these technologies are not yet designed for healthcare and must overcome regulatory hurdles. Regardless, digital health tech companies must continue to pioneer the fields of artificial intelligence and beyond with the ultimate goal of supporting medical professionals in every aspect of their practice.
-The MetaOptima Team