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Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of AI in Healthcare


With advances in technology, healthcare organizations are now able to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency, and reduce medical costs. AI has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry, but there are risks we must consider as well.


In the CareTalk episode, “Do We Really Need AI in Healthcare?” hosts, John Driscoll and David Williams, analyzed AI’s place in healthcare.





What is Artificial Intelligence and How Does it Work?


Before we take a look at how AI is being used in healthcare today and what some of the pros and cons of its implementation may be, it’s important to understand how AI works.


“When we talk about artificial intelligence, it really is about a machine that's imitating intelligent human behavior.” – David (CareTalk).

Artificial Intelligence (AI), in its simplest definition, is intelligence emulated by machines that rival human intelligence. It entails the development of computer systems to think and react in a manner comparable or beyond that of a human operator. AI works by processing data through a variety of algorithms and methods such as deep learning, natural language processing, and machine learning to enable computers to carry out complex rules to solve problems.


From AI-assisted healthcare diagnoses to self-driving cars, AI has rapidly extended its reach across many industries with varying levels of sophistication. By leveraging powerful computational resources, AI will certainly continue to offer unparalleled opportunities for a wide range of applications while blurring the lines between science fiction and everyday life.

How AI is Used in Healthcare

AI has a variety of applications within healthcare. It can be used for administrative tasks such as managing patient records and scheduling appointments. AI can also help improve accuracy when it comes to diagnosing illnesses by analyzing imaging data more quickly than humans can. AI-enabled robots can also be used for surgical operations, allowing for more precise incisions and quicker recovery times for patients.



Artificial intelligence being used in an operating room.


Will AI Revolutionize the Healthcare Industry?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has immense potential in the field of healthcare. If AI is used with ethics and caution, it could be revolutionary in transforming healthcare delivery. It could automate routine tasks, freeing up physicians and other healthcare personnel to focus more of their time on human interaction with patients. AI applications such as predictive analytics can be used to detect diseases earlier and enable precision medicine by helping to identify treatment outcomes based on individual patient data sets.


By providing detailed analysis of large sets of medical data, AI can assist in early disease detection, helping improve prognoses for patients and cutting down the cost for both patients and the healthcare system. There is also potential for intelligent automation systems powered by AI that can be used in a wide variety of areas such as diagnostics, drug development, clinical trials management and more.


Ultimately, the introduction of AI into healthcare may lead to improved access to care and better health outcomes for patients worldwide.


Pros of AI in Healthcare

The use of AI in healthcare has numerous advantages. For one thing, it helps reduce errors associated with manual data entry or interpretation of imaging results by medical professionals—both of which can lead to incorrect diagnoses or incorrect treatments being prescribed.


Additionally, since AI can process data 1000x’s faster than humans, it can provide medical professionals with real-time insights into their patients’ conditions that they might not have had access to before.


Finally, using AI-enabled robots for surgery eliminates human error during the operation itself and makes the entire process much quicker overall.


Cons of AI in Healthcare

While there are obvious benefits associated with using AI in healthcare, there are also risks to consider. For example, since machines don’t have the same level of intuition or problem solving abilities that humans do, they may miss important details when making decisions related to patient care or treatment plans.


“I think one of the other dangers of AI in healthcare is that it is meant to do basic things, like process automation and answering so-called basic questions. However, patient care cannot be treated like a basic question.” – John (CareTalk)

Additionally, if an algorithm is programmed incorrectly or if there is bias built into an algorithm’s training data set, this could lead to incorrect decisions being made about patients’ health or treatments that could potentially be harmful. Finally, if algorithms become too reliant on machine learning techniques such as deep learning networks then they may become difficult for medical personnel to understand how decisions were arrived at—making it difficult for them to adjust treatments accordingly should something go wrong during a procedure or treatment plan execution.



The Future of AI in Healthcare

Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential within the healthcare industry but also carries its own set of risks that must be carefully considered before implementation takes place. By understanding both the advantages and disadvantages associated with using AI in healthcare settings we can ensure that these technologies are used responsibly and safely so that they benefit both medical professionals and their patients alike.





 

ABOUT CARETALK


CareTalk is the only healthcare podcast that tells it like it is. Join hosts John Driscoll (President U.S. Healthcare and EVP, Walgreens Boots Alliance) and David Williams (President, Health Business Group) as they provide an incisive, no B.S. view of the US healthcare industry.


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