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Benefits of machine learning in healthcare

The benefits of machine learning in healthcare

Once the stuff of science fiction, machine learning has become part of our day to day world, ranging from the predictive text on our phones that remembers the way we spell our best friend’s name, to advertisements tailored to your last internet search. However, the benefit of machine learning algorithms has been mostly on the outskirts of medicine until recently. While there is some hesitation about allowing computers to perform diagnosis on patients, machine learning would not be a replacement for the years of study and practice of a professional doctor. Instead, machine learning would allow specific outside factors to be tracked and studied to make treatment of various diseases and conditions more accessible and accurate, as well as reduce the chance of misdiagnosis.

But before we discuss the potential real-life benefits of using machine learning in the medical world, we should first explain what machine learning is.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is the ability for a program to take information from a multitude of sources and predict what the next possible outcome is. This allows the application to continually perfect its approximations of events and outside factors to predict someone’s next move. A smaller scale version of machine learning is online chess, where the computer bases its next step on the most likely moves that have been played in thousands upon thousands of games. In the advertising world, this applies to your Amazon checkout cart and your recommended next series on Netflix, as these programs can track your viewing history to show you items that you may want or need, or can help determine if you would like to watch west-world over strange things.

Benefits of Machine Learning in Healthcare

In the medical world, this kind of predictive learning could be used to catch hereditary illnesses better, as well as to track the various facts about a patient that could contribute to their current medical symptoms. This would help to give doctors a more extensive range of possible illnesses and ailments that could be affecting a patient and could alert them to potential underlying factors that they may not have even noticed.

How can doctors use machine learning to treat patients better?

While doctors have a significant amount of education and practice within their field, they are only human, and can barely keep track of so many outside factors at one time. Implementing machine learning into medical practices would allow for doctors to focus more in-depth on their patient’s needs, while also allowing them to be alerted to possible concerns for their patient, from a history of breast cancer to possible interactions between current medications that could be causing the patient’s symptoms. With how advanced our medical technology has become over the years, integrating machine learning into the way we track a person’s medical history could help save thousands of lives, and help us learn more about hereditary illnesses in the long run.

 

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