AI has shown transformative potential in various facets of health care. So vast is the promise, that AI integrated into mobile technologies are put to test in new areas—areas where clinician intervention does not suffice. Mental health is a complicated area where psychiatrists have confined themselves to traditional interaction methods. The scenario may soon change, believe neuroscientists and health experts.
To start with, AI and machine learning tech have already improved remote care of critically-ill patients. Recently, researchers at University of Colorado Boulder have demonstrated the potential of AI by developing a speech-based mobile app. The app, believe the researchers, can monitor the mental health of individuals. The efficacy is at least as good as humans can have, if not better.
Machines Step in Where Psychiatrists with Foibles May Fail
Clinicians can use the app to track closely day-to-day speech changes in people. Additionally, they compare these trends with sample speech of normal individuals. Psychiatrists do this with their patients’ day in and day out. Nonetheless, this has severe limitations. For one, it is not always possible or feasible to make a doctor visit as often as required. Severely ill ones for sure can’t make consecutive visits. Even if patients do get access consultation, it is very likely that psychiatrists can miss out subtle signs and cues while listening to patients.
Still Long Way to Become Reliable
Unfortunately, talks and speech-based interactions are the only way to help diagnose mental or cognitive health problems. For ages this has been the case. Now machine learning tools are showing great promise. Researchers contended that such an app could well diagnose conditions of schizophrenia, depression, or mania. They have tried to keep the scope of the mobile app wide. For instance, clinicians can use app to make patients undertake range of tasks to find their mental state, such as asking them telling stories. The developers of the app have clearly reiterated that the mobile app can’t replace the role of clinicians. Unarguably, such machine learning tech will complement their work.
The role of AI in medical tech is still masked in mystery. Such apps will need to earn wider population trust to make them of any help in the coming years, argued the authors of the research paper.