AI will shape health care plans for US veterans

The government and Flow Health are counting on deep learning to customize treatments.

AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

American veterans needing health care are about to get help from an unusual source: artificial intelligence. The Department of Veterans Affairs and Flow Health have forged a 5-year alliance that will see the two build a massive medical knowledge graph (based on the records of 22 million veterans) that uses deep learning to customize health plans for vets. The system aims to identify the common genetic factors that make people vulnerable to given diseases and not only improve diagnoses, but recommend treatments on a case-by-case basis.

Government interest in AI is nothing new, and we've seen multiple efforts to implement deep learning in health care. However, the combination of the two is promising. It could improve the overall health of veteran soldiers and save money, of course, but that's just the start. The Department is a very high-profile customer, and any success here could make a strong case for AI-assisted health care both elsewhere in government and the private sector.