Artificial intelligence could soon make tough medical choices

Patients are often willing to put themselves in the hands of healthcare professionals when they need to see a doctor, and this includes accepting the technological devices that help physicians. But, artificial intelligence making vital decisions for doctors is another story.

AI is already playing a significant role in healthcare. The healthcare organization, MedyMatch says it is, “creating a new category of AI-driven diagnostic tools” and “leveraging the richness of 3D imaging, the breadth of patient-specific data, and other relevant data… to deliver precise clinical decision support directly to the physician.”

MedyMatch recently announced a major collaboration with IBM Watson Health. The aim is for artificial intelligence applications to work alongside doctors in emergency rooms and other acute care settings.

AI can use deep learning to help physicians by highlighting regions of interest that could “indicate the potential presence of cerebral bleeds in suspected head trauma and strokes.”

Source: MedyMatch
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Better decisions from better information

So what would AI decision making in a hospital setting look like?

“Clinical Decision Support (CDS) is where the greatest opportunity exists to make an impact,” MedyMatch CFO Michael Rosenberg told TechDigg.

While it’s well known that better decision making comes from having better information, it’s also well known that healthcare professionals are constantly short of time, making it difficult to process a lot of information.

“CDS in its classical sense has been about decision trees, if this then do that… when it comes to AI, we take it to a whole other level,” Rosenberg said.

“When looking at decision support, we aren’t looking at a set of rules, but a set of considerations highlighted for the physician, whether they be statistical data looking at similar patients across a population or highlighting regions of interest.”

This also has a positive financial impact, because: “better decisions lead to better outcomes, and better outcomes mean the reduction of costly errors, which means cost savings for the healthcare system from the Provider, Patient, and Payer.”

Artificial intelligence can save doctors valuable time
Source: MedyMatch

Speaking on the relationship between artificial intelligence and doctors, and the stage that relationship is now at, Rosenberg said:

“I think we are seeing the very early stages of an evolution where the definition of a doctor changes. AI will never replace the physician, at least not in our lifetime. The physician will always be the ultimate decision maker, however that decision will be influenced by recommendations that an AI platform recommends.”

“We think of AI as a capability that can be used to enhance the work of a physician… the final diagnosis will always be the responsibility of the doctor, but it will rapidly increase the number of physicians that can perform at an expert level.”

Can we be sure artificial intelligence decisions are safe?

There are many areas of life where people are both excited and cautious about the role that AI can play. Healthcare is perhaps the number one area where the public needs to know it can trust the technology.

“The great thing in healthcare is the regulator,” Rosenberg said. “The FDA is looking out for the patient, and close collaboration between the healthcare industry and the AI provider will result in the best quality for the marketplace.”

Even the best doctors get tired and short of time, and artificial intelligence could be on hand to do the work they simply can’t do themselves.

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