Machine Learning Healthcare: Opportunities, Challenges, and Use Cases

Updated 20 Apr 2023

13 Min




Healthcare is a domain that is ripe for disruption by machine learning. With vast loads of data generated daily from various sources, covering electronic health records, wearables, and medical imaging, there is enormous potential for machine learning to improve patient outcomes and increase the efficiency of healthcare operations. Yet, this complex and sophisticated technology also has some significant challenges to overcome, which might be challenging for a non-tech person.

In this article, we will explore the prospects, obstacles, and use cases of machine learning in healthcare, as well as examine how this technology can revolutionize the way we approach healthcare delivery and management.

What Is Machine Learning in Healthcare

Generally, machine learning (ML) is a sort of artificial intelligence that permits computer systems to comprehend the data eliminating forthright programming. In other words, it's a way for machines to detect tendencies and patterns and learn from them standalone and independently. In contrast to completing a set of instructions, computers using machine learning are given data and allowed to draw their own conclusions.

Machine learning health care algorithms can be used for a variety of tasks, such as filtering spam emails, recognizing objects in images, and analyzing complex datasets. Primarily, the technology is beneficial for cases when it’s required to research large amounts of patient data in healthcare and identify patterns that might be missed by humans.

As the availability of patient data boosts, the involvement of machine learning in healthcare is becoming truly critical. Machine learning can help healthcare professionals extract valuable insights from large datasets, resulting in more accurate diagnoses, more personalized treatment plans, and enhanced patient outcomes and leading to significant improvements in population health.

Due to this fact, machine learning has become increasingly important for medical solutions that need to handle, structurize, and analyze large amounts of data. By using machine learning algorithms, healthcare providers can analyze this data to find patterns and insights that would be challenging to uncover manually.

Atul Butte

Atul Butte

Director of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UC San Francisco

Machine learning is the next layer of analysis, and it will revolutionize how we think about disease diagnosis and treatment.

As machine learning in healthcare becomes more prevalent, medical providers can use a more predictive approach to improve care delivery and patient outcomes. ML can be used in several healthcare use cases, such as automating medical billing, developing clinical practice guidelines, and providing clinical decision support.

Notable illustrations of machine learning in healthcare include the development of deep learning algorithms that can predict acute toxicities in patients receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancers. In clinical workflows, machine learning can identify complex patterns and deliver more precise medical strategies to assist primary care providers.

The Usage Benefits of Machine Learning in Healthcare for Organizations

There’s a broad spectrum of advantages of machine learning in healthcare for healthcare organizations. Let’s see why you shouldn’t miss your chance to adopt ML technology in your healthcare business:

Process automation and optimization

Machine learning can help automate and optimize processes in the healthcare business. In practice, ML can be used to automatically process large amounts of medical data and create individualized treatment plans for patients, reducing the time and effort that can be used to improve the quality of patient care. ML can also help automate other processes, such as managing medical resources and optimizing staff schedules. All of these can lead to more efficient and better patient care.

Personalized treatment plans

Using this technology, entities analyze patient data to develop personalized therapy strategies based on an individual's medical history, genetic makeup, lifestyle, and other factors. Enhanced machine learning healthcare data research can lead to more effective treatments and improved patient outcomes.

Reduced costs

By robotizing routine tasks and improving accuracy, machine learning can help healthcare organizations reduce costs associated with manual labor and medical errors. Additionally, ML can help identify patients who are at risk of developing chronic conditions, allowing for early intervention and preventive care, which can reduce healthcare costs in the long term.

Enhanced patient experience

ML can help medical institutions improve the patient experience by delivering more personalized care, reducing wait times, and minimizing medical errors. This results in higher patient satisfaction and better outcomes.

Disease prediction

Using ML to analyze healthcare data and other factors can help in the development of disease prediction models. Such models can better identify risk factors and prevent disease by providing more accurate predictions, which helps in making better decisions about disease cure and prevention.

Improved population health

Machine learning healthcare businesses take big advantage of patterns and trends in patient data to enhance population health. This is due to the fact that ML programs specify patients who are highly likely to formulate chronic conditions, allowing for targeted interventions to prevent disease spread.

Enhancing safety

ML can be used to create models that can predict risks to patients, such as adverse reactions to medications or complications after surgery. It helps reduces risks to patients and improves the safety of medical procedures.

Ultimately, the use of ML in healthcare can significantly enhance the quality of care, reduce costs, and enhance patient satisfaction, leading to better results for patients and healthcare organizations in parallel.

Get expert consultation on ML

Our domain experts will advise on implementing best ML practices into your medical business flow

Top Healthcare Use Cases for Machine Learning: How ML Can Be Used in Medicine

In the current market, we can already see global corporations implementing machine learning applications in healthcare. Here are five real-life examples of machine learning in healthcare:


Microsoft has been actively working on several projects that utilize machine learning in medicine. One of their most notable projects is the InnerEye initiative. It is a machine-learning platform that automates the segmentation and delineation of tumors in medical images such as MRI and CT scans.

The InnerEye solution uses deep learning algorithms to analyze medical images and identify tumors, allowing physicians to diagnose cancer more quickly and accurately. By reducing the time it takes to analyze medical images, InnerEye can enhance patient outcomes and increase the efficiency of medical professionals.

In addition to these initiatives, Microsoft has also developed a cloud-based platform called Healthcare NExT, which provides healthcare organizations with tools and resources for developing AI-based solutions. Through NExT, Microsoft is working to democratize access to AI and machine learning in healthcare and accelerate innovation in the industry.


Tempus is a technology company that uses machine learning and data analytics to bring the cancer treatment to the next level of effectiveness. Their product combines large-scale genomic sequencing and analysis with clinical data from electronic health records to develop personalized treatment plans for cancer patients.

One of Tempus' most notable achievements is the development of a machine learning-powered tool that helps identify genetic mutations that can be targeted with specific drugs. The system investigates genomic data from cancer patients and compares it to a database of known mutations, allowing physicians to identify potential drug targets and develop personalized treatment plans.

Apart from drug target identification, Tempus' platform also uses machine learning to predict the therapy results and recognize patients who are at risk of developing complications during treatment. By analyzing data from EHRs and other sources, Tempus' algorithms point out patterns and risk factors that may not be apparent to human-conducted research.

Google Health

Google Health is among the machine learning in healthcare examples. It’s a division of Google that focuses on designing and applying machine learning to healthcare. One of their most significant projects is the development of machine-learning algorithms for medical imaging. Google Health has released a product called DeepMind Health, which uses deep learning algorithms to diagnose medical images such as X-rays and CT scans. The invention of Google can pinpoint characteristics and anomalies.

Another outstanding initiative from this market giant is the use of machine learning to develop virtual assistants for healthcare professionals. Google Health is developing conversational AI products that can help physicians and nurses automate routine tasks, and grow patient engagement and retainment.

GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare is a leading provider of medical technology and solutions worth our attention, and they have been fond of exploring the use of ML in healthcare. They’ve delivered an ML-based software that can analyze medical images and help physicians make more accurate diagnoses. It is called the Edison platform and uses machine learning algorithms to analyze medical images such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. By analyzing patterns and anomalies in the images, the platform can identify potential areas of concern and alert physicians to potential issues.

GE Health experts are developing algorithms that can predict patient deterioration and alert clinicians to potential issues before they occur. By exploring genetic data and specifying possible drug targets, the product can support physicians in developing targeted therapies that are more effective and have fewer side effects.


Roche is a pharmaceutical and diagnostic unit making use of machine learning in this field. The organization’s critical aspiration is the building of individual treatment programs based on genetic and medical details.

Roche, a global healthcare company, is leveraging machine learning to transform multiple aspects of healthcare. One area where they are applying machine learning in drug development where they analyze genomic data to identify potential drug targets and develop more effective and safer targeted therapies. Additionally, Roche is exploring the use of machine learning in medical imaging through their platform, "Navify," which helps physicians make more accurate diagnoses.

Example of ML-based healthcare app: Ada

Example of ML-based healthcare app: Ada

Machine Learning in Healthcare: Challenges & Limitations

While machine learning has the broad spectrum of benefits that revolutionize healthcare by enhancing patient outcomes and streamlining operations, there are certain obstacles and constraints that healthcare organizations must overcome when incorporating machine learning solutions.

Safety and transparency

One of the biggest challenges is ensuring safety and transparency. Machine learning algorithms are complex, and their decision-making process may be difficult to understand. This lack of transparency can be especially problematic in healthcare, where the decisions made by machine learning systems can have a direct impact on patient outcomes.

In order to address this machine learning and health challenges, it is vital to ensure that machine learning models are designed to be transparent and that healthcare professionals have a clear understanding of how these models are making decisions. For this, it’s important to establish clear guidelines and regulations for the development and use of machine learning algorithms in healthcare to ensure that they are safe and reliable.

Data privacy

Another important obstacle that healthcare entities face when implementing machine learning solutions is data privacy. In healthcare, data privacy is of utmost importance as medical data contains sensitive information about patients that must be kept confidential. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that data is stored securely and that patient privacy is protected throughout the entire process of implementing machine learning.

Healthcare organizations must also take measures to obtain informed consent from patients before using their data for machine-learning purposes. This implies that patients must be made aware of how their data will be used and must provide explicit consent for their data to be used in machine learning algorithms. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the data used in machine learning is properly de-identified to protect patient privacy.

Rough data

The last issue in the use of machine learning in healthcare is the issue of unstructured data. Medical data is often unstructured, making it difficult to use for machine learning. To address this challenge, there is a need to develop effective methods for structuring and organizing medical data, which would make it more useful for machine learning purposes.

Without patients' explicit consent to the use of their data, the use of machine learning to analyze and improve medical procedures may violate patients' privacy and confidentiality rights. Therefore, healthcare entities must strictly comply with legal regulations regarding the use of personal data and ensure that they have consent from patients to use their data for machine learning purposes.

In addition, they must ensure that patient data is anonymized and protected from unauthorized access and establish transparent rules and processes for data management and processing data access requests.

Lack of ML experts

Furthermore, there is a shortage of experienced professionals who possess the necessary skills to develop and implement machine learning algorithms in healthcare. This shortage can hinder the development and deployment of machine learning solutions, leading to delays and potentially reducing the efficiency of healthcare systems.

Addressing these issues and overcoming the limitations is crucial for the successful adoption of machine learning in healthcare. So, if you plan to hire the right people to deliver a ML-based telemedicine app, you’ll need to pay large salaries to them. Application development outsourcing is a good way to fill the talent gap and attract experts with the relevant expertise.

The Future With Possibilities of Machine Learning in Healthcare

The future of machine learning in medical field is very promising, and there is a lot of potential for the technology to improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency in the industry. Let’s consider some statistics that demonstrate the powerful impact of machine learning on healthcare:

  • According to a report by Precedence Research, the global artificial intelligence in healthcare market size was estimated at USD 15.1 billion in 2022, and it is expected to surpass around USD 187.95 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 37% during the forecast period 2022 to 2030.
  • The HBR analysis states that by 2026, AI-powered technologies such as machine learning will be able to save the US healthcare economy $150 billion annually.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that machine learning algorithms were able to accurately predict patient outcomes, such as mortality rates and hospital readmissions, better than traditional predictive models.
  • The same study found that machine learning algorithms were able to identify patients at risk of developing sepsis up to 24 hours before the onset of symptoms, which could lead to earlier intervention and better outcomes.
  • A report by TowardsDataScience predicts that machine-learning algorithms can currently diagnose diseases with the same accuracy as human doctors.
  • Healthityanalitics note that medical professionals keep embracing artificial intelligence instruments, with 80% planning to use the tools to improve patient outcomes.

By looking at the statistics, we can define that telemedicine within healthcare, combined with the power of machine learning, has the potential to revolutionize the entire medical niche, and if you're interested in exploring how to develop a telemedicine app, check out the related article for more details.

AI market value forecast

AI market value forecast

How Can Cleveroad Help You?

Machine learning has immense potential to transform healthcare by providing valuable insights and improving patient outcomes. Healthcare organizations that adopt machine learning will be better equipped to handle the increasing amount of patient data and provide more individual experience and care.

If you are in need of a machine learning developer with practical experience in healthcare, Cleveroad would be happy to assist you. Let us introduce what benefits you'll get:

  • Hands-on experience developing telemedicine solutions, including remote patient monitoring apps, patient portals, EHR, EMR, eRx, and more
  • Experience in implementing IoT technology in medicine for seamless integration and performance
  • Blockchain security guaranteeing absolute data protection and integrity
  • Solid competence in Big Data crafted by Cleveroad qualified Solution Architects
  • Cloud-certified tech professionals for efficient and scalable IT infrastructure working on your project
  • NDA available on request for the full client confidentiality

Contact us today to book a consultation with our certified Solution Architects, having proven domain expertise in machine learning implementation and support.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is machine learning in healthcare?

Machine learning (ML) is a type of artificial intelligence that enables computer algorithms to learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. In healthcare, machine learning algorithms can be trained on large sets of patient data to identify patterns, make predictions, and assist with clinical decision-making.

Machine learning algorithms can be applied to a wide range of healthcare applications, including medical imaging analysis, drug discovery, patient diagnosis, and personalized treatment recommendations. For example, ML algorithms can analyze medical images to identify early signs of cancer or detect abnormalities in radiological scans. In drug discovery, machine learning can be used to predict the effectiveness of different drug candidates and optimize treatment protocols for specific patient populations.

The use of machine learning in healthcare has the potential to significantly improve the accuracy, efficiency, and outcomes of medical care. However, it also poses several challenges related to data privacy, data quality, and algorithmic bias that need to be addressed to ensure that the technology is used responsibly and ethically.

How is machine learning used in healthcare?
  • Medical imaging analysis. ML algorithms can be trained on large datasets of medical images (e.g., X-rays, MRIs, CT scans) to accurately identify and diagnose diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer's, or cardiovascular disease. This can help doctors make faster and more accurate diagnoses.
  • Clinical decision support. ML algorithms can analyze patient data, such as medical history, symptoms, and test results, to identify patterns and make predictions about the best course of treatment. This can help doctors make more informed decisions and improve patient outcomes.
  • Drug discovery and development. ML algorithms can be used to identify new drug candidates, predict drug efficacy and toxicity, and optimize treatment protocols for specific patient populations. This can help accelerate the drug discovery process and improve the effectiveness of treatments.
  • Remote patient monitoring. ML algorithms can be used to analyze data from wearable devices or other sensors to track patient health, monitor symptoms, and detect early signs of disease. This can help doctors intervene early to prevent or manage health problems.
  • Electronic health record (EHR) analysis. ML algorithms can analyze EHR data to identify patterns and trends in patient health, predict disease risk, and improve care coordination. This can help healthcare providers deliver more personalized and effective care.
Why is machine learning important in healthcare?

Machine learning is important in healthcare because it has the potential to significantly improve the accuracy, efficiency, and outcomes of medical care. Here are some of the reasons why machine learning is important in healthcare:

  • Improved diagnosis accuracy
  • Optimized treatment plans
  • Enhanced patient outcomes
  • Accelerated drug discovery
  • Improved healthcare efficiency
Author avatar...
About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

Rate this article!
690 ratings, average: 4.55 out of 5

Give us your impressions about this article

Give us your impressions about this article

Latest articles
Start growing your business with us
By sending this form I confirm that I have read and accept the Privacy Policy