There is much debate regarding the role that AI should – and will – play in healthcare. There are those who welcome it’s arrival, recognizing that human analytical capabilities and resources are limited, others concerned about further diluting the patient physician relationship, and creating a more mechanical nature to healthcare.
There are clearly areas in which AI will be a game changer: Radiology and image processing, where many companies, such as Zebra, are currently providing analytical support for radiologists to prevent missed diagnoses and help distinguish even minor deviations from the norm; chronic disease management, where the artificial pancreas and other platforms help guide patients with their care; and medication mistakes, where companies such as MedAware and preventing errors with their big data analytics.
Clearly, however, there is no substitute for the human component in certain crucial situations. A machine cannot counsel a family in end of life decisions; cannot navigate difficult medical decisions with patients and their families, where the statistics are “not enough;” and cannot tailor counseling for healthy living to the individual present in an exam room.
Ultimately, however, AI is upon us and it is incumbent on the medical community to embrace it and find its’ rightful place.