Obesity, hypertension and diabetes. These are some of the most prevalent health conditions that plague the American population, yet they can be managed through a variety of lifestyle changes, diet and, in some instances, prescription medications. As traditional Western medicine continues to evolve into holistic approaches, more physicians are becoming increasingly knowledgeable in nutrition and are shifting their mindset from how to treat the health condition to how to prevent the health condition in the first place.
As the CTO of a company that creates daily supplement regimens using artificial intelligence, I’ve seen firsthand how AI is making it even easier for healthcare practitioners to serve up nutrition to their patients right in their offices and at the patients’ homes.
Nutrition discussions led by AI
Three-quarters of Americans take dietary supplements, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). As more and more Americans are taking nutrition into their own hands by using vitamins and supplements, it is crucial to understand that a significant number of people — almost 40% — don’t feel they need to speak with their doctor before adding a supplement to their daily routine. Thanks to AI, more doctors can now have intentional conversations with their patients about their nutrition and their use of daily vitamin supplements. Likewise, AI puts big data at doctors’ fingertips so they can easily access, cross-reference and provide intelligent recommendations on how to balance the ingredients found in the prescription medication with the ingredients that make up daily vitamins and supplements.
Beyond nutrition discussions, AI is making a profound impact in the healthcare space as a whole. For example, Philips has combined AI and other technologies with knowledge of the clinical and operational context in which they are used for a people-centered approach that the company calls “adaptive intelligence.” As it relates to imaging technology such as an MRI or X-ray, specifically, Philips provides AI-powered and easy-to-use tools that are embedded right into a doctor or technician’s workflow. The result is improved patient care and less time spent waiting for a patient’s history or lab results.
Another promising AI application comes from Sense.ly, a virtual nurse assistant that’s available through an app. While it may seem trivial or unnecessary, its goal is to keep the line of communication open between patients and healthcare providers between office visits. According to Sense.ly’s CEO, this product is “always improving, learning more and more from patients, and as we partner with more organizations, bring in more disease states and research, we’ll layer in more protocols and content.”
Creating educated and convenient nutrition programs
A nutrition program that includes in-depth discussions and analysis with a healthcare practitioner will put a patient on the right path for ongoing wellness. By adding convenient access to high-quality vitamins and supplements through a subscription model where the personalized vitamins are delivered directly to a patient’s door, patients will be motivated to care for their bodies each and every day.
We’ve seen the success of medication delivery to a patient’s home through Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy, for more than $700 million in 2018. This is the future of healthcare — one that is led first through the integration of AI into a physician’s practice.
Ways doctors can utilize technology to expand a patient’s nutrition program
• Let AI make the recommendation. Utilize big data and the growing number of personalized nutrition programs that leverage AI to identify one of the trillions of combinations of vitamins and nutrients best suited for the patient, or input specific recommendations directly into the technology platform
• Use powerful databases driven by AI to identify potential drug-nutrient interactions.
• Share results through seamless integration between patient- and practitioner-facing information to promote full, comprehensive healthcare
AI is mutually beneficial for the patient and practitioner and is changing the way doctors are able to provide holistic care.