The Future of Medicine: Artificial Intelligence In Orthopaedic Care

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The Future of Medicine: Artificial Intelligence in Orthopaedic Care 

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

One of the trending topics in the future of orthopaedic care, is the application of Artificial Intelligence or AI. First coined in the 1950’s, the present set of medical innovations are increasingly utilizing the technology. In the orthopaedic realm, physicians are welcoming the presence of modern AI, and appreciate the ability to utilize computer models in real time. With more accurate information, the quality of patient care will improve. Over the past decade, the number of publications in orthopaedic literature have increased by a factor of ten. As the ability to detect conditions such as osteoarthritis and predict its course of action increases, personalized treatments will become a norm of the orthopaedic realm. 

What impacts the utilization of AI in orthopaedic care? 

AI is a data heavy activity that utilizes computer technology in order to predict trends in patient healthcare. AI has benefitted from faster processing power of computers, cloud based technology, and the availability of data. Critical patient parameters can now be tracked via tools such as FitBits and other digital trackers. Once data is collated, the utilization of neural networks or other deep learning algorithms, can be fused with image analysis in order to deduce patient diagnoses. Predictive models using machine learning algorithms can be utilized to plan surgery. 

AI predictive models that are fed critical patient parameters including age, can assist in real-time patient care. The future of medicine will foresee patient treatments, because the changes in behaviour can be plotted on a modulated graph. Medical parameters have pre-determined ranges, and the system will be able to detect when the values are within range or trending outside of an average band. System prompts can encourage patients to make lifestyle changes that will return the parameters to normal. A surgeon’s testimony for AI in orthopaedic care is highlighted below: 

“Immediately at the point of care, we can give [patients] the risk-benefit profile that is accurate and has been validated, and we can adjust the surgical variables, as well as show patients in real-time the risk/outcome benefit of preoperative physical conditioning or smoking cessation” [1] – Christopher P. Ames, MD

From a financial standpoint, the predictive models in orthopaedic care can determine patient cost per procedure. Hospitals have to manage their business operations, and understanding the cost of a procedure, will aid the pricing that patients will have to incur. Where possible, identifying how to incorporate health insurance into the patient package, will help to balance the patient cash outlay. 

Individualized Care 

Patients like to be treated as unique individuals. Knowing that each body is different, it is important to ensure that medical care is addressing this fact. AI enables both pre-surgery and post-surgery protocols to be met. The healing rate of certain tissues after an orthopaedic procedure can vary from patient to patient. This could be the case for patients who may have had some orthopaedic trauma. AI will track the patient’s healing and identify critical parameters such as the presence of scar tissue and adhesions. With early prediction, appropriate intervention can be applied. 

Feedback Mechanism 

During the early phases of an orthopaedic surgeon’s career, AI is an excellent learning tool. As practice persists, orthopaedic surgeons can utilize the feedback of AI to manage their practice. From a research perspective, doctors can track their patients progress and learn the best practices for their specialization. Modern AI’s have learning mechanisms and with time, actually adapt and understand the systems that they are monitoring. They can detect healthcare opportunities, and identify solutions that will improve the health of the patients. 

Humans are prone to errors, and the utilization of AI will be one step towards a brilliant future in healthcare. This is a win-win situation for patients and their doctors. 

Reference Article: 

  1. Healio.com: https://www.healio.com/news/orthopedics/20200813/orthopedic-field-awaits-impact-of-artificial-intelligence

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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