As AI continues to be discussed in healthcare, diverse ideas and points of view arise confronting one another. The most alarmist individuals, who denounce the advent of transhumanism, find themselves in disagreement with those who suggest that we overestimate AI’s abilities. Defining what AI means is not straightforward; the lack of a clear definition is indeed the first obstacle to overcome. Below, Dr. Joel Arun Sursas takes a more in-depth look into the perception of AI in healthcare.
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) means that a machine can perform a task that is considered intelligent by humans . Science has recently seen striking advances within the world of AI, and plenty of fields are eager to learn from the new advancements, including medicine.
For example, a study in 2017 found that AI could diagnose skin cancer just as efficiently as a human dermatologist. Then in 2018, another study found that AI was able to do it even better than dermatologists. That same year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first AI device to diagnose diabetic retinopathy without a doctor’s help.
Key opinion leaders have declared that some medical specialties may even be replaced entirely with AI devices. This causes some unsettled feelings among physicians, particularly in the fields of radiology and pathology. There are concerns about misdiagnoses, patient comfortability, and job security in the industry.
Those who have asserted that AI may replace humans in specific fields completely tend to land on the more extreme end of the AI spectrum. Most individuals believe that a combination of AI and human doctors working together can yield the best results.
Privacy Concerns with AI
New issues arise with AI’s application in healthcare, mainly with health data and privacy concerns. Due to these rising concerns, Google published a list of ethical principles regarding AI development in June of 2018.
In the medical industry, most privacy concerns are rooted in HIPAA violations that protect against the unauthorized exchange of patients’ medical information without consent. This concern is understandable, as, in other industries, AI has been used for inappropriate data mining.
Currently, the AI tools for medicine are slowly being rolled out or still in the research phase. Still, it is well-accepted that these AI tools will revolutionize medical practice, and the medical community is starting to take it seriously. The industry is committed to using AI safely; AI will not intrude on patients’ rights to confidentiality, making progress surrounding the topic more viable.
A Positive Role in Healthcare As Described By Industry Leaders
Researchers in Paris, France, set out to determine the overall perception of AI in healthcare. To do so, they interviewed 40 people:
● 13 Physicians
● 5 Radiologists
● 2 Surgeons
● 1 Anatomopathologist
● 1 Dermatologist
● 1 Oncologist
● 1 Radiotherapist
● 1 Nuclear Physician
● 1 Geriatrician
● 1 Cardiologist
They also included many other people involved in healthcare. Most of the people that were interviewed talked about the myth of AI– what’s portrayed in movies and TV and the need to strike a balance between accessing data and their protection, as well as the potential interference among the relationship between the physician and patient.
The interviews also found that healthcare professionals didn’t deny the promising future of AI, but worried about providing the best care for their patients.
Doctors appeared to have a positive perception of the possibilities of AI in healthcare. For many healthcare specialists, AI tools could help save time, provide better patient monitoring, alleviate some of the deficiencies in under-served communities, and even help improve healthcare management difficulties.
Therefore, AI is perceived in the medical community as having the potential to make medicine a lot more effective, improve care while reducing costs, and increase patient safety .
Most healthcare providers, at least the ones who were surveyed in the study, are hopeful about the future of medicine with AI. They see many benefits that it can bring, including quality of care and time management, but there are still concerns to be ironed out, particularly patient safety and data security.
About Joel Arun Sursas:
Joel Arun Sursas holds a Bachelor's Degree in Medicine and Bachelor's Degree in Surgery from the National University of Singapore and is continuing his education to obtain a Certificate in Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership from the Harvard Medical School, and Masters in Applied Health Science Informatics from the Johns Hopkins University (both expected in 2020). His technical skills include SPSS, RevMan, and Python. Dr. Joel Arun Sursas' most recent engagement is with a medical device start-up company Biorithm where he serves as Head of Clinical Affairs, working to take fetal surveillance out of the hospital and into the home, revolutionizing the obstetric practice globally.
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