masthead Philips Innovation Matters YWEF Blog3 1 l

Jan 31, 2019

Artificial intelligence and precision medicine – customizing care for a healthier tomorrow #PhilipsTranslates

Estimated reading time: 3-5 minutes


Over the past decade, artificial intelligence (AI) has moved from being the preserve of science-fiction movies to a tangible technology that is a key part of corporate strategies and making its way into almost every device we own. The healthcare space is no exception – AI is already being introduced into general practice and the hospital to automate administrative tasks, aid doctors in diagnosis and lower costs


With so much noise about the technology, though, it can be difficult to understand exactly how AI will affect our relationship with healthcare. That’s why through our #YoungWEF campaign we have teamed up with students Sheetal (18) and Hidde (17) to translate emerging healthcare trends and show how they are relevant to us all.

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“AI can do things that human beings can’t do so easily”. Watch our #YoungWEF students Sheetal and Hidde discuss AI, precision medicine and other exciting changes in healthcare with Philips’ Chief Medical Officer Jan Kimpen

Some people are nervous about organizations collecting their personal data, but 44% of the general population trusts the healthcare industry more than banks or the insurance industry.[1]  Hospitals in fact collect vast amounts of data on their patients – far more than human beings alone could ever hope to analyze. Precision medicine uses AI analytics to bring together this data and draw out previously unseen insights on a patient. It can help prevent disease and build better treatment plans by taking into consideration the patient’s behaviors, genes and environment. In other words, each patient gets their own unique treatment plan based on their genetic makeup.[2] 


You won’t have to wait for decades to see real improvements in your healthcare experience. Your family health history could soon be used to more effectively diagnose and prevent genetic disease through standardized gene testing. This will increase our ability to screen for disease before a patient becomes sick – as early as immediately after birth, in fact.[2] The changes for individuals will be dramatic: you’ll likely be given the best possible treatment at an earlier stage, resulting in quicker treatment, better results and less time spent worrying.

Doctors will be able to use patients’ genetic data and other health information as part of routine medical care to a far greater extent. They’ll better determine which treatments will work best for specific patients, as well as gain an enhanced understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which different diseases occur.[3]  This will have an enormous impact on healthcare in the future, with implications for entire populations and economies as our understanding of some of the key health threats of our time improves.


However, as impressive as AI is as a technology, we must remember that it is just that: a technology. It’s an extension of the doctor’s skills and expertise, but it will not be able to replace the vital human relationship between a patient and a doctor. That’s why we use the term ‘adaptive intelligence’ to talk about AI as a technology that adapts to people, for example as the new personal assistant to today’s doctors – it works to spot patterns in complex data so that the doctor can make a more informed diagnosis, and automates repetitive tasks so more time can be spent on consultation.

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As healthcare moves away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach, we can all look forward to a healthier tomorrow. Innovations will play a leading role in driving this change, and understanding their impact will enable us to use them to their potential. Stay tuned over the next few months as we continue to translate some of the key healthcare trends of our time on our social media channels. 


Are you interested in finding about other innovations revolutionizing healthcare? Check out how we are moving towards the hospital of the future with #PhilipsTranslates



[1] Future Health Index. (2017). CC12. How important would you say connected care devices are for improving each of the following?



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