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Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

A revolution that offers enormous promise for the future of medical diagnosis, treatment and patient care has recently been triggered by the acceptance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. As a result of the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence healthcare system has become more precise, effective and patient-centered. This article explores the uses of artificial intelligence in healthcare and at the same time advantages and disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term of computer science which has lately become the topic of interest because of its impact on healthcare and others. Artificial Intelligence offers the following great benefits to healthcare providers and practices all around the world.

Advantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare:

Virtual Nursing Assistants (VNA):

From interacting with patients to directing patients to the most effective care-setting, virtual nursing assistants could save the healthcare industry $20 billion annually. Since VNAs are available 24/7, they can answer questions, monitor patients and provide quick answers. Most applications of VNAs today allow for more regular communication between patients and care providers, between office visits to prevent hospital readmission or unnecessary hospital visits.

Enhancing Medical Imaging:

One of the most remarkable applications of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare is medical imaging.  Artificial Intelligence algorithms can interpret radiology images such as X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans with astonishing accuracy. This not only speeds up the diagnosis process but also reduces the likelihood of human error.

Precision Medicine:

Combined with AI, genomics has the potential to completely rewire how we handle health, providing assistance in creating highly customized treatments for individual patients. Canadian company Deep Genomics has developed an AI powered discovery platform that supports the identification and creation of genetic medicines.

Clinical Traits Procedure:

Traditional clinical trials are slow and expensive, taking years to complete and often failing due to participants fall out. Artificial Intelligence can improve clinical trails, from matching potential participants with relevant trails and find meaning in test results.

Artificial Intelligence Assisted Surgery:

Robots can analyze data from pre-medical records to guide a surgeon in time of surgery, leading to time-saving of the patients. Robot-assisted surgery is considered “minimally invasive” and has resulted in five times fewer complications compared to surgeon operating manually alone.

Dictation Assistance with Natural Language Processing (NLP):

In order to help reduce the time spent by health professionals capturing documentation, NLP extracts data from dictated notes and enters the information into the EHR. Modern NLP systems are able to sort through the existing content of the charts and highlight the relevant data for the clinical team.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare:

High Cost:

Creation of artificial intelligence requires huge costs as they are very complex machines. Their repair and maintenance require huge costs. They have software programs which need frequent upgrade to cater to the needs of the changing environment and the need for the machines to be smarter by the day. In the case of severe breakdowns, the procedure to recover lost codes and reinstating the system might require huge time cost.

No Replacing Humans:

Human intelligence is to be replicated or not. Machines do not have any emotions and moral values. They perform what is programmed and cannot take decisions if they encounter a situation unfamiliar to them. They either perform incorrectly or breakdown in such situations.

No Improvement with Experience:

Machines are unable to alter their responses to changing environments. We are constantly bombarded by the question whether it is really exciting to replace humans with machines. Care or concerns are not present in the machine intelligence. There is no sense of belonging or togetherness or a human touch. They fail to distinguish between a hardworking individual and an inefficient individual.

No original Creativity:

These are not the forte of artificial intelligence. While they can help you design and create, they are no match for the power of thinking that the human brain has or even the originality of a creative mind.

Unemployment:

Replacement of humans with machines causes unemployment. Unemployment is a socially undesirable phenomenon. People with nothing to do can lead to the destructive use of their creative minds. Artificial intelligence augments and empowers human intelligence. So as long we are successful in keeping technology beneficial, we will be able to help this human civilization.

Risks of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare:

Accuracy and Safety:

Since AI is fairly new, it has the potential to be less accurate and reliable thereby putting patients at risk.  The AI has to be reliable enough to keep sensitive data, like addresses and financial and health information secure. Institutions that handle sensitive medical information need to make sure their sharing policies keep information safe.

Risk in New or Exceptional Health Cases:

Not only does AI have to be accurate and safe, it has to be created so that it is up to date with new health cases. In other words, a program will only be as good as the date it learns. Programs need to be trained or at least constantly updated, to be able to identify new or exceptional health cases.

Risk for Doctors and Patients:

Artificial Intelligence can also pose a risk for the doctors and patients. Since artificial intelligence has not been perfected, doctors cannot fully rely on AI and still need to make decisions based on their knowledge and expertise. Patients are also at risk for the same reason. If a program provides incorrect information, patients will not be treated properly.

Challenges for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare:

Adoption:

One of the challenges artificial intelligence faces in healthcare is widespread clinical adoption. To realize the value of artificial intelligence, the healthcare industry needs to create a workforce that is knowledgeable about Artificial intelligence so that they are comfortable using AI technologies thereby enabling the artificial intelligence to “learn” and grow smarter.

Training Doctors and Patients:

Another challenge is training doctors and patients to use AI. Learning how to use technology may be a challenge for some. Likewise, not everyone is open to information given by a “robot”. In other words, accepting artificial intelligence is a challenge that needs to be addressed through education.

Regulations:

Complying with regulations is also a challenge for artificial intelligence industry. For one, there is the need for approvals from FDA before an AI device or application is applied to health care. This is especially true because AI is at a nascent stage and not a technology that is fully known or understood. Moreover the existing approval process deals more with AI hardware and about data. Therefore, data from AI poses a new regulatory challenge for FDA and needs to be validated more thoroughly.

Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare:

AI is gaining attention in many fields. AI has the possibility to have a huge and positive impact for doctors and patients in healthcare. Because of the ability to aggregate and analyze a massive amount of varied data, Artificial Intelligence could yield significantly faster and more accurate diagnoses for a broader segment of the population. Individuals without access to highly specialized healthcare could gain the benefit of that experience through AI. Healthcare costs could potentially drop due to earlier and more accurate diagnosis. Until the data repository gets large enough and extremely well-validated, we are not expecting to see a robot in doctor’s chamber.

Conclusion:

Artificial Intelligence is the new born child of modern science where we can find both advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Healthcare providers, policymakers and society as large must carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence in healthcare. We can create a future in which modern technology like artificial intelligence may improve the healthcare system without compromising the patients’ wellbeing and will overcome its limitations.

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Hi, I am Tanushree, a general health consultant and advisor provide advices and knowledge on health and nutrition.

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