Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare: It’s here but is it ready?

By June 20, 2016Web/Tech

Summary, a 4-minute read: this covers the emergence of Artificial intelligence bots — like Alexa from Amazon — and how they are starting to be used in healthcare. But the challenges are as long as a python — from privacy to cost, customization to making it relevant. We all should know by now that AI is another industry-changing technology.

Once you study it, the concept of “Beyond-the-pill” seems one-dimensional. But to apply it to a patient app it seems a bit premature. Or is it? What is in the market now?

The AI tipping point has occurred, driven mostly by Alexa/amazon and Google Now. But people already use their voice-recognition software in their smartphones now. Just look at the landscape chart in this post and you see that there is no one leader, nor singular technological approach to AI (full chart at end of post). In a recent study by SoftServe/CD Data, the investment in AI is accelerating:

And on the adoption/satisfaction curve  MindMeld did a study of smartphone users level of adoption/satisfaction with their current use of voice-recognition:

While the chart may be hard to read, let me spell out the dramatic findings — especially for such a nascent technology:

  • More than 50% of respondents have tried voice assistants
  • More than  30% are “regular users” (daily or weekly)
  • 50% of those who use the assistants are “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their experience
  • 20% consider themselves dissatisfied with the technology

So, the first chart showed the investment tipping point, but this last finding demonstrates the “human” tipping point:

  • 60% of the respondents said they adopted IA in the past year (40 percent within the past six months)

But the landscape is overwhelming; the early stage of applying this voice-recognition/machine-learning daunting to any Biopharma company looking to use AI for, let’s say, patient adherence, or providing a “Past-the-pill” solution. What is in the market now worth looking at?

Recently, I conducted a analysis of AI health apps for a chronic condition. For so many chronic conditions, especially for data-paranoid Biopharma companies, it is pretty clear that AI apps are at a very early-stage development and adoption. There’s Welldoc,HealthrhythmsCogito, and many others being tested in a variety of clinical environments. Though each is amazing, it is early for them.

On the more “mature” end of the spectrum, you can have Watson from IBM customize a part of its software for a dialog/voice active and passive recognition app; but perhaps farthest along in the Biopharma space is NextIT AlME Health Coach Bot. Not only has it been adopted by Biopharma — TEVA Copaxone being the most dramatic in-market example — it is winning awards and is so highly customizable it may be the best answer for really providing value to patients beyond trackers and other one-dimensional apps, toss-away apps.

Consider the facts of this award-winning AI App:  AlME Health Coach Bot (YouTube video here) uses brand-approved content to shape into an AI Health Coach Bot dialogue, one that offers real conversation and learns from what you say to it!

There is so much to say on this topic, it is too much. But to conclude: if your brand or clients are asking about “We want a REAL app that engages our patients because that last one stunk” then look to NextIT first. They have proven what others are still testing.


Just to put an exclamation point on why healthcare should dabble, but not adopt as of yet, the chart below says it all: too many choices, directions, unproven ground. But each organization needs to have some ear to the ground, a group that looks into these technologies on a regular basis. Pay attention, or you’ll miss the idea that goes Beyond-the-Pill to true help in the form of AI.


Thank you to MindMeldSoftServeVB Profiles and IBM for not just supplying meaningful content, but for being the evangelists and change-agents we need.

Enjoy Watson!