Last month, the FDA introduced a five-point action plan to help integrate AI- and ML-powered technologies into the healthcare industry more effectively


Uptake of AI- and ML-based technologies in the healthcare sector is increasing all the time (Credit: Sarah Holmlund/Shutterstock)

The adoption of AI and ML technologies – which have proved to be “incredibly helpful” in healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an analyst – is set to surge following the introduction of the FDA’s five-part action plan.

The plan was launched by the US regulator last month, and analytics firm GlobalData believes it will accelerate the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into American healthcare systems.

GlobalData also claims the market for these technologies has grown rapidly over the past few years – and will reach a value of $52bn in 2024 compared to $29bn in 2019.

Kamilla Kan, a medical analyst at the analytics company, said: “While AI and ML have been incredibly helpful throughout the pandemic – providing new ways to detect, analyse and trace Covid-19 – the lack of regulations has been a cause for concern, and slowed the pace of adoption of these emerging technologies.

“For instance, previously the issue of biased results was raised due to the fact that AI- or ML-powered algorithms could be trained on one demographic, and used on a different one.

“Following the public’s concerns, the FDA released an action plan for regulating AI in medical devices and, with this action plan, FDA officials will be able to evaluate and monitor a software product from its pre-market development through to post-market performance.”


Increased adoption of AI- and ML-powered technologies

Despite an initial distrust towards adaptive algorithms due to there being little-to-no regulation in this area, many major healthcare companies have recently begun investing in AI and ML, and rapidly incorporating these technologies into their offerings.

Dutch medtech giant Philips is currently collaborating with US start-up Paige to provide pathology labs with AI-based applications, Medtronic acquired UK-based firm Digital Surgery in 2020 in an effort to expand its surgical AI capabilities, and Roche launched two digital pathology image analysis algorithms for precision breast cancer diagnosis last month.

GlobalData anticipates that, by reassuring healthcare professionals and the general public that AI- and ML-powered technologies have been properly tested, the FDA’s action plan will now enable this integration to take place even more quickly across the industry.

“As a result of this, current methods of diagnosis, data analysis, image recognition and assessment will benefit greatly,” Kan added.