Medical professionals have been storing personal health information in electronic form for more than a decade, but it is cumbersome for patients to gather disparate computer and paper records scattered across doctors’ offices, hospitals and medical labs. Wouldn’t life be easier if you could view your full medical history with a few taps on your smartphone?
Health products powered by artificial intelligence, or AI, are streaming into our lives, from virtual doctor apps to wearable sensors and drugstore chatbots. AI can help doctors interpret MRIs of the heart, CT scans of the head and photographs of the back of the eye, and could potentially take over many mundane medical chores, freeing doctors to spend more time talking to patients. Yet many health industry experts fear AI-based products won’t be able to match the hype.
“Healthspan,” a coinage now gaining traction, refers to the years that a person can expect to live in generally good health — free of chronic illnesses and cognitive decline that can emerge near life’s end. Although there’s only so much a person can do to delay the onset of disease, there’s plenty that scientists are learning to improve your chances of a better healthspan.