4 Innovative Applications of AI in Healthcare (and 2 Important Precautions!)
The digital revolution is ushering in a transformative era, and few sectors feel its ripple effects as deeply as healthcare. We’re on the brink of a future where artificial intelligence can assist us with patient interactions, communication, education, and even diagnosis. While the potential applications of AI in healthcare are undeniable, a balanced perspective requires us to also understand its limitations. Let’s take a look at a few groundbreaking applications, as well as the precautions we need to take.
2 necessary precautions when using AI in healthcare
Always remember that AI is a tool to complement your expertise, but that it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for your own good judgement.
When using AI for anything relating to healthcare, always check if it’s compliant with privacy regulations that apply to you. And for AIs that aren’t, don’t share information with them that’s confidential or could be used to identify a patient.
AIs of today are prone to hallucinations, which means they sometimes make stuff up. This is typically due to a deficiency in its training data or a simple misunderstanding. For that reason, any ideas you get from an AI always need to be fact-checked, regardless of how confident it seems to be in its answers. AI is a great brainstorming tool, but it’s definitely not your boss!
4 Applications of AI in healthcare
1. AI chatbots for patient follow up
AI chatbots like Penn Medicine’s Penny have been successfully used for text-conversations with cancer patients. The bot regularly followed up with patients between appointments, and flagged anything of concern that cropped up. Impressively the bot correctly interpreted the overwhelming majority of medication-related and symptom-related text messages! When something was flagged, the care team would follow up and take action if needed.
2. AI as your personal communications coach
AIs like ChatGPT could be the most non-judgmental, encouraging communications coach you’ve ever had!
They’re expert communicators that can provide tips to minimise misunderstandings and help you navigate difficult conversations with greater ease. And as this Lancet article discusses, the AIs of today are shockingly good at expressing empathy, and have potential to help healthcare professionals better connect with their patients through more empathetic communication.
You can use modern AIs for everything from coming up with a better way to word something, to generating lengthy outlines for an academic paper or report! Enhance your ability to get the most out of these AIs with Medmastery’s comprehensive prompting course.
3. AI and improved patient education
Understandably, patients don’t always remember everything you tell them at their appointments. To help fix this, make a list of the most common things you find yourself explaining to patients multiple times during a typical day, and use AI to generate patient-friendly educational material that’s written at a literacy level most people understand.
Sending patients home with key information in writing will help ensure they remember it all, and may even have the side effect of reducing the number of follow-up phone calls to your office! Of course, you’ll need to fact check and fine-tune any information the AI writes for you, but as you can imagine, having an AI generate the first draft in seconds can be a massive time saver that helps you elevate the care you provide to your patients.
4. AI for assistance with diagnosis
Early detection is incredibly important for minimising risk and optimising treatment for many disorders. And AI has enormous potential to help us with this.
For example, this paper in JAMA Cardiology found that using deep learning AI models with ECG helped predict the onset of atrial fibrillation. Given the importance of treating atrial fibrillation to prevent cardiovascular events like stroke, this kind of breakthrough holds immense potential for early intervention and could revolutionise the way we approach patient screening and management.
Applications of AI in healthcare: The hype is real, but handle with care!
While the digital era brings groundbreaking uses of AI in healthcare, it’s important to strike a balance between the pros and cons. From assisting in diagnosis to improving patient communication and education, the possibilities are vast and exciting. However, as with all tools, using AI comes with a responsibility to maintain patient privacy and ensure the accuracy of information. The future looks promising, and as long as we approach it with caution and respect, AI could truly transform healthcare as we know it.
Research and Review
- Topol EJ. Machines and empathy in medicine. Lancet. 2023 Oct 21;402(10411):1411.
- Siwicki B. Penn Medicine uses AI chatbot ‘Penny’ to improve cancer care. Healthcare IT news. June 02, 2023
- Yuan N, Duffy G, Dhruva SS, Oesterle A, Pellegrini CN, Theurer J, Vali M, Heidenreich PA, Keyhani S, Ouyang D. Deep Learning of Electrocardiograms in Sinus Rhythm From US Veterans to Predict Atrial Fibrillation. JAMA Cardiol. 2023 Oct 18:e233701.
AI in HEALTHCARE
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