Recently, the Verge sat down with Dr. Eric Topol, who recently published a book entitled “Deep Medicine,” which examines how artificial intelligence will change healthcare. Dr. Topol presented the following insights:
Artificial intelligence will not replace doctors. Patients will still appreciate the human touch when it comes to getting health care. Also, AI can have glitches or get hacked, so human doctors will have to check the Ai’s diagnosis, sort of like seeking a second opinion in the same office.
AI will be able to solve a long-standing problem that doctors face, which is the time they must spend analyzing data from patients, especially from new implantable and ingestible sensors, not to mention getting it inputted into a medical records system. An AI system will be able to perform those tasks for the doctor, freeing him or her to spend more time with patients.
On the other hand, government regulators and health care managers may try to use the new technology to force doctors to see even more patients than they already do. The temptation would be to decrease the cost of health care by decreasing the number of doctors available to treat patients. In this case, AI would be a “force multiplier’ rather than a quality enhancer. This approach is clearly not the way to go if the quality of health care is a priority,
Several studies must be conducted to ensure that AI systems perform their diagnostic tasks and data integration with accuracy and speed. A fully functional medical AI system would also reduce medical errors, a major cause of patient injury and death.
Finally, the new system must be designed with patient privacy in mind. The patient will have to have control over who gets access to his or her medical data, which will often be dispersed in several locations but gathered and integrated by the AI system.