AI in Healthcare: Breakthroughs and the Role of Patents



The integration of AI in Healthcare has started a great revolution, reshaping every aspect of medical care. From simplifying administrative tasks to revolutionizing diagnostics and treatments, AI is driving health tech innovation worldwide. This transformative synergy between intelligent algorithms and human expertise is starting in a new era of precision medicine, where early disease detection and innovative treatment approaches take center stage. Let’s delve into how AI is being used in healthcare and the significance of Intellectual Property Rights.




Historically, the healthcare industry has displayed a cautious approach toward integrating technology, which can be attributed in part to earlier setbacks in digitization efforts. A study has underscored that healthcare professionals have dedicated a substantial 49% of their time to administrative duties, leaving only a mere 27% for direct patient care. This imbalance, stemming from outdated systems, not only results in inefficiencies but also contributes to burnout and hasty diagnoses among clinicians. At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry faces its challenges. Developing a single product takes about ten years and costs around a huge USD 2.5 billion.

However, the progress made in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) offers hope for solving these problems. AI in Healthcare possesses the capability to automate approximately 33% of the manual tasks undertaken by healthcare professionals, thereby ushering in potential cost reductions. The incorporation of AI-powered technologies has the potential to generate savings exceeding USD 150 billion for the US healthcare sector by the year 2026. This encouraging projection has spurred substantial global investments in AI research tailored specifically to healthcare applications. Presently, AI’s self-learning algorithms have demonstrated their capacity to automate tasks and contribute to informed decision-making processes.  (source)


AI-Powered HealthTech


  1. Robots: In healthcare, robots have transformed from optimizing operational tasks to enabling precise, minimally invasive surgeries. Companies like Diligent Robotics, Aethon, and InTouch Health streamline hospital operations, while Intuitive Surgical, Medtronic, Verb Surgical, and Auris Health enhance surgical precision, benefiting patients and providers worldwide.
  2. Medical Imaging Systems: Medical imaging has evolved from X-rays to advanced modalities like MRI, CT, and ultrasound, aiding precise diagnoses. AI-driven systems like GE Healthcare’s Edison and Siemens Healthineers’ AI-Rad Companion enhance image analysis, while companies like Arterys, Enlitic, and Zebra Medical Vision advance AI-powered medical imaging for improved healthcare outcomes.
  3. Personalized Care: AI-driven health assistants like Your.MD and Suki.AI offer personalized medical advice, while Babylon Health, CureMe, Oscar Health, and Welltok develop their versions. AI-powered EHR systems from GE Healthcare, Oracle, Cerner, Allscripts, and Epic analyze patient data for informed decision-making, treatment recommendations, and improved healthcare delivery.
  4. Analysis and Discovery: AI revolutionizes healthcare through predictive analytics like HealtheIntent, and Caboodle for disease prediction and drug discovery platforms like BenevolentAI, and Atomwise that accelerate candidate identification. These innovations hold the potential to transform patient care and reshape medicine’s future.
  5. Virtual Reality Therapy: VR therapy platforms like MindMotionPRO, AppliedVR, etc. with AI integration provide immersive rehab for patients. As AI improves, healthcare will see new and creative uses that will greatly change how services are provided.


What does the future hold?


The utilization of AI in the healthcare sector is experiencing a significant expansion. Presently, the worldwide market for AI in healthcare has exceeded a value of $10 billion. Furthermore, the count of startups operating at the intersection of healthcare and AI has surged by 75% within the last two years. AI is finding its application in an increasingly diverse range of healthcare domains, encompassing mental health support, telehealth services, precision medicine, and the detection of healthcare fraud. As AI advancements persist, it is foreseeable that the future will bring forth even more groundbreaking and inventive applications of AI in this field.

The forthcoming trends in AI-powered health tech are compelling. AI-driven virtual assistants will enhance patient engagement and personalized care. Robotic surgery, gene editing, and personalized medicine will revolutionize treatment approaches, ensuring precision and effectiveness. Healthcare fraud detection powered by AI will safeguard financial integrity. AI-powered clinical decision support, drug discovery, remote patient monitoring, and public health initiatives will optimize diagnostics, therapies, and preventive strategies. These trends collectively exemplify the remarkable potential of AI to improve patient outcomes, streamline operations, and foster innovation across the healthcare ecosystem. (source)

As AI’s capabilities evolve, it will catalyze transformative advancements. The integration of big data analytics, predictive algorithms, and machine learning will empower clinicians with actionable insights, revolutionizing disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. AI-driven telehealth and remote monitoring will enable greater accessibility, especially in underserved areas. Ethical considerations and data privacy will remain pivotal as AI reshapes patient care and healthcare management.

Ultimately, AI’s future in health tech holds the promise of more accurate diagnoses, efficient treatment pathways, reduced costs, and improved patient experiences. By collaborating across disciplines and addressing challenges, AI has the potential to realize a future where healthcare is increasingly patient-centric, data-driven, and technologically empowered. (source)


How can patents help?


Patents are instrumental in fostering the growth and development of AI in the healthcare technology sector. They play a pivotal role in encouraging innovation, protecting intellectual property, and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders. By offering inventors and companies exclusive rights to their AI-driven health tech inventions, patents incentivize investments in research and development, driving continuous advancements in healthcare technologies.

Moreover, patents safeguard novel ideas and technologies, preventing unauthorized use or copying, and ensuring that inventors and companies can benefit from their creations. The disclosure of patented technologies in public documents enables knowledge sharing, enabling other researchers and companies to learn from and build upon the innovation. As a result, patents contribute to the acceleration of technology transfer and the integration of AI health tech solutions into real-world healthcare settings.

Furthermore, patents can increase the value of a company’s assets, attracting investment and fostering partnerships with other players in the healthcare industry. Ultimately, by promoting competition and driving improvements in the quality and standards of AI health tech products, patents play a significant role in advancing healthcare and expanding access to medical innovations worldwide. (source)


AI Innovations and Patents


  1. In 2017, IBM was granted a patent for an AI-based system that can diagnose cancer from medical images which helped to protect its investment in research and development and to promote the adoption of its AI-based cancer detection system.
  2. In 2018, Google was granted a patent for an AI-based system that can personalize treatment plans for patients with diabetes and has helped Google to protect its intellectual property and to promote the development of new AI-based diabetes treatments.
  3. In 2019, Johnson & Johnson was granted a patent for an AI-based system that can detect and prevent healthcare fraud protect its intellectual property, and promote the adoption of its AI-based healthcare fraud prevention system.
  4. In 2020, Stanford University got a patent for an AI system that can foresee the chances of sepsis in patients. It has helped Stanford University protect its intellectual property and promote the development of new AI-based sepsis prediction systems.
  5. In 2021, Mayo Clinic received a patent for an AI system that detects Alzheimer’s disease from brain scans. This patent safeguards their ideas and encourages the creation of more AI-based tools for diagnosing Alzheimer’s.
  6. In 2022, Massachusetts General Hospital was granted a patent for an AI-based system that can personalize cancer treatment plans for patients. This patent has helped Massachusetts General Hospital to protect its intellectual property and to promote the development of new AI-based cancer treatments. (source)




The integration of AI into healthcare marks a transformative shift globally, streamlining tasks, revolutionizing diagnostics and treatments, and offering personalized, patient-centered care. AI’s data-driven insights empower medical professionals for improved outcomes. The promising future includes AI-driven virtual assistants, robotic surgery, gene editing, and personalized medicine, all supported by patents that incentivize innovation. As AI evolves, it will reshape healthcare, address challenges, foster progress, and enhance well-being on a remarkable scale.


How Robotics Are Changing the Way Health Care Organizations Are Being Managed

The adoption of robotic technology in healthcare has come a long way in the past decade, evolving from skepticism to widespread acceptance as a means to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient care. This transformation is evident at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, where advanced robotic technology automates the pharmacy, streamlining medication dispensing based on orders from the Cerner hospital information system.


The integration of robotics and artificial intelligence in healthcare systems holds the potential to contribute significantly to long-term sustainability and profitability. By relieving healthcare professionals of repetitive and monotonous tasks, robots allow for increased precision, reduced workloads, and more time to focus on patient care. This technological shift addresses workforce shortages, cuts costs, and facilitates advanced forms of therapy and rehabilitation.


One of the most notable areas of robotic application is surgery, with the da Vinci Surgical System leading the way. Surgical robots offer greater reach, flexibility, and precision, allowing surgeons to make more accurate incisions and maintain control throughout procedures. However, these robots are designed to complement, not replace, surgeons, enhancing their skills and efficiency.


In pharmacy settings, robots are increasingly popular, especially in outpatient and inpatient pharmacies. They automate tasks such as medication dispensing, labeling, and packaging, ensuring meticulous attention to detail and reducing the risk of errors. Robotic arms play a crucial role in the preparation of intravenous solutions, contributing to a sterile and efficient process.


Rehabilitation medicine has seen the emergence of wearable robotic structures like exoskeletons, aiding patients with a range of motion issues. These devices facilitate rehabilitation therapies, such as gait training for individuals recovering from strokes or spinal cord injuries. Moreover, robotic arms designed for rehabilitation provide a 3-D video gaming experience, tailoring treatments based on individual progress.


Telemedicine benefits from robotic technology, addressing healthcare professional shortages and extending specialized care to remote areas. Human-sized telerobots enable remote patient monitoring, consultations, and communication between healthcare providers and patients. Infection control is another domain where robots, such as the Xenex Robot, excel by employing UV disinfection techniques to reduce hospital-acquired infections effectively.


Mobile logistics robots contribute to streamlining daily hospital operations by autonomously transporting medications, meal orders, and linens. These robots navigate using sensors, reducing wait times and staff workloads. The potential applications of robotics in healthcare extend to phlebotomy, elderly care, dentistry, and even futuristic technologies like nanobots for treating complex diseases.


Despite these advancements, healthcare organizations face challenges in adopting robotic technologies. The initial capital investment required for sophisticated robotic systems, along with concerns about the ability of robots to handle complex and uncertain tasks, may hinder adoption. Some applications may necessitate infrastructure redesign, creating a potential barrier. Additionally, the fear of job displacement remains a concern, although many robotic technologies are designed to complement human skills rather than replace them.


In conclusion, healthcare organizations globally are increasingly embracing robotic technologies across various fields, driven by the potential to enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient care. As technology continues to advance and costs decline, the integration of robotics into healthcare operations is poised to become more widespread. Healthcare leaders are urged to recognize the immense potential and long-term benefits of investing in innovative robotic technologies to ensure both operational and innovation excellence.


Artificial Intelligence’s Use and Rapid Growth Highlight Its Possibilities and Perils

The rise of artificial intelligence has created growing excitement and much debate about its potential to revolutionize entire industries. At its best, AI could improve medical diagnosis, identify potential national security threats more quickly, and solve crimes. But there are also significant concerns—in areas including education, intellectual property, and privacy.

Today’s WatchBlog post looks at our recent work on how Generative AI systems (for example, ChatGPT and Bard) and other forms of AI have the potential to provide new capabilities but require responsible oversight.


The promise and perils of current AI use


Our recent work has looked at three major areas of AI advancement.

Generative AI systems can create text (apps like ChatGPT and Bard, for example), images, audio, video, and other content when prompted by a user. These growing capabilities could be used in a variety of fields such as education, government, law, and entertainment. As of early 2023, some emerging generative AI systems had reached more than 100 million users. Advanced chatbots, virtual assistants, and language translation tools are examples of generative AI systems in widespread use. As news headlines indicate, this technology continues to gain global attention for its benefits. But there are concerns too, such as how it could be used to replicate work from authors and artists, generate code for more effective cyberattacks, and even help produce new chemical warfare compounds, among other things. Our recent Spotlight on Generative AI takes a deeper look at how this technology works.

Machine learning is a second application of AI growing in use. This technology is being used in fields that require advanced imagery analysis, from medical diagnostics to military intelligence. In a report last year, we looked at how machine learning was used to assist the medical diagnostic process. It can be used to identify hidden or complex patterns in data, detect diseases earlier, and improve treatments. We found that benefits include more consistent analysis of medical data, and increased access to care, particularly for underserved populations.  However, our work looked at limitations and bias in data used to develop AI tools that can reduce their safety and effectiveness and contribute to inequalities for certain patient populations.

Facial recognition is another type of AI technology that has shown both promises and perils in its use. Law enforcement—federal, as well as state and local—have used facial recognition technology to support criminal investigations and video surveillance. It is also used at ports of entry to match travelers to their passports. While this technology can be used to identify potential criminals more quickly, or those who may not have been identified without it, our work has also found some concerns with its use. Despite improvements, inaccuracies and bias in some facial recognition systems could result in more frequent misidentification for certain demographics. There are also concerns about whether the technology violates individuals’ privacy.


Ensuring accountability and mitigating the risks of AI use


As AI use continues its rapid expansion, how can we mitigate the risks and ensure these systems are working appropriately for all?

Appropriate oversight will be critical to ensuring AI technologies remain effective, and keep our data safeguarded. We developed an AI Accountability Framework to help Congress address the complexities, risks, and societal consequences of emerging AI technologies. Our framework lays out key practices to help ensure accountability and responsible AI use by federal agencies and other entities involved in the design, development, deployment, and continuous monitoring of AI systems. It is built around four principles—governance, data, performance, and monitoring—which provide structures and processes to manage, operate, and oversee the implementation of AI systems.

AI technologies have enormous potential for good, but much of their power comes from their ability to outperform human abilities and comprehension. From commercial products to strategic competition among world powers, AI is poised to have a dramatic influence on both daily life and global events. This makes accountability critical to its application, and the framework can be employed to ensure that humans run the system—not the other way around.