Could AI Put an End to Traditional Blood Tests?

In a fast-changing world, machines can now make decisions traditionally reserved for humans. While this might seem frightening, but the truth is that technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to improve our lives significantly. AI has already made an impact on multiple industries, including medicine. Compared to $2.16 billion in 2017, it’s estimated that the global value of AI in healthcare will reach $22.79 billion by 2023.

AI could change the way conventional medical tests are conducted besides providing assistance to humans. For instance, blood tests are necessary in determining numerous conditions and diseases. For most people though, getting their blood drawn is a rather unpleasant experience. A California-based company AliveCor was motivated by this to develop its KardiaK Software Platform, an AI system trained to detect hyperkalemia without conducting blood tests.

Hyperkalemia is a condition in which the patient’s blood potassium levels are too high and can cause “life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and death”. Doctors usually rely on invasive blood tests taken at hospitals to diagnose hyperkalemia. This condition can be identified at home without the patient’s blood, thanks to AliveCor’s software. Analyzing electrocardiogram (ECG) data taken by AliveCor’s wearable device, the software only takes a couple of seconds to provide the patient with accurate results.

The tech has already achieved FDA Breakthrough Device status and could revolutionize the diagnosis of hyperkalemia and allow patients to enjoy a more convenient, painless way of checking their potassium levels, in the comfort of their home. This software could “save people’s lives” while saving the healthcare system money, according to a co-developer of the tech, Dr. Paul Friedman of the Mayo Clinic team.

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