AI is getting increasingly sophisticated at doing what humans do, more efficiently, more quickly and at a lower cost. The potential for both AI and robotics in healthcare is vast.
AI is already being used to detect diseases, such as cancer, more accurately and in earlier stages.
According to the American Cancer Society, a high proportion of mammograms yield false results, leading to 1 in 2 healthy women being told they have cancer. The use of AI is enabling review and translation of mammograms 30 times faster with 99% accuracy, reducing the need for unnecessary biopsies.
Can AI be used to fight obesity?
The struggle with weight comes down to a healthy lifestyle plan and commitment. However, as this often requires significant behavioural change, this can be incredibly difficult for patients to do without regular support from medical professionals “nudging” them towards better, healthier choices.
One potential solution, currently being explored, is whether artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cognitive assistants could be deployed in line with the ‘nudge theory’ to support people in making better decisions regarding their health.
The nudge theory, made famous by Nobel Laureates Richard Thaler and Daniel Kahneman, found that subtly encouraging people to change their behaviour through a series of gentle reminders was a far more effective means of motivation than actually telling them to do so. They also found that frequent communications and engagement leads to better results. Source: https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/16205305/shortguide9_22.pdf?sequence=4
Step 1: Personalisation The key to a modern-day problem often includes personalisation so it feels intimate and carefully tailored.
Having a clear, achievable, measurable plan is key to a successful weight loss programme. After having gained an understanding of the patient’s diet and lifestyle, the patient’s doctor designs a plan that will help them achieve behavioural change. This will be broken down into a series of smaller, achievable goals – for example, changing what a person eats for breakfast.
Step 2: Continuous Feedback This is where the nudge theory comes in to provide them with helpful nudges that will help them achieve their goals. For example, as part of a discussion about the patient’s diet over a preceding couple of days, the cognitive assistant may want to call-out how one breakfast was better for their weight-loss plan.
With frequent, conversational interactions between patient and coach, the cognitive assistant is able to help the patient develop and maintain healthier routines. This conversation triggers a subconscious education towards food nutrition as well.
Step 3: Data-driven treatments The role of this technology is not only to ensure the patient sticks to the plan, but also helps the doctor to continuously improve the patient’s weight-loss plan based on the information that they have revealed during their dialogues with the conversational AI. The regular conversations will reveal information on an individual’s diet and habits that just won’t necessarily be revealed in short visits to the doctor.
The cognitive assistant can also flag to the doctor when the conversations reveal information that requires human intervention. For example, if the patient begins reporting new health complaints, the cognitive assistant can flag to the doctor that an in-person appointment needs to be arranged.
Prevention is better than cure
The above model is focused on a cure – like so much in healthcare. Vircle uses AI to make food a positive foundation for a successful life – preventing NCD’s such as obesity.
In fact, Vircle changes the impact of food from being a cause of illness to becoming a source of mental and physical wellness. The below diagram illustrates how Vircle does this.
This is important and powerful because of how Modern medicine is overwhelmingly reactive rather than proactive. Get sick, seek medical help. How expensive is that model!
The Vircle model is quite different – improve a child’s food behaviour using big data and AI, leading to improvements in a child’s health, school grades and emotional behaviour. Not to mention a longer healthier and more successful life.
You are what you eat, and with Vircle, big data and AI is used to nudge kids to eat better and better.