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Utility of Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Chronic Diseases | Castellana

It is known that chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic cardiopulmonary and kidney diseases constitute a burden on the health system in the United States as much as ours. More than 60% of the U.S. population suffers from one or more chronic conditions, which constitutes more than 80 to 85% of health expenditure. This has become more evident in the pandemic as more than 90% of deaths caused by COVID-19 suffered from one or more chronic conditions. To this we add the limitation of access to the health service, where statistics show that screening tests for diabetes and cholesterol evaluation reduced by more than 80%, as did first-line prescriptions causing a reduction in adherence and control of these conditions. Other factors that contribute to the increase in these chronic conditions are sedentary living, poor nutrition, socioeconomic status, and coexisting comorbidities.

Technology and its changing trends became one of the best allies in the face of this global crisis. This paper presents the basic concepts, evolution and usefulness that technology such as artificial intelligence can have. In general, artificial intelligence is not a new concept since its beginnings are based on the 50s of the last century.  This has evolved in its characteristics and definitions. For example: artificial intelligence sought to imitate certain activities that humans perform through machines and / or computer programs, its most basic form were programs of board games such as chess, among others between the 1950s and the late 70s.

From the 80s, machines had the ability, through data collection and integration, to interpret and perform certain tasks without the need for explicit programming. This was known as: machine learning.  Already from 2010 the term “Deep Learning” is used in reference to a data entry that is carried out through a red similar to the human central system and that is able to adapt.

Examples of these are information  use systems such as Siri, Alexa, facial recognition, drones, motor vehicles, filters in programming (spams filters). But even more so in medicine where today there is robotic surgery like da Vinci, the documentation of medical information, interpretation of images and histopathological cuts. Growth is estimated for 2026 in applications such as robotic surgery, virtual healthcare, administrative work, fraud detection, error production, medication management, and preventive diagnostics.  These factors will change fundamental aspects of health services.

Another segment that has shown evident growth is the monitoring of health parameters with portable machines, such as glucose, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and heart rate meters, among other metrics. This, with the portability of a cell phone, a watch or other clothing piece, which is essential for the prevention of chronic conditions.

These tools will also facilitate connectivity between health providers for interconsultations, monitoring of emergency room visits and admissions, in order to coordinate follow-ups in post-acute care quickly and efficiently.

But this path of change to technology also has its challenges, since we must take into account the high cost of technology, regulations and their implementation so that they favorably impact a reduction in incidence and prevalence in these chronic diseases. Proper analysis and decisions will help improve the patient’s quality of life and reduce mortality from these conditions.

By: Dr. Rafael Franjul