The healthcare sector has always been in the forefront of innovation and technology. Since time immemorial, people have strived to achieve advancement in technology to improve human health and lifestyle. Artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector is revolutionizing the way we perform several tasks, from diagnosis of the disease to its treatment everything is seeing a rapid shift. It is changing the dynamics of the global healthcare sector. Much has been debated over the moral and ethical implications on the implementation of artificial intelligence in healthcare.
Tech giant Microsoft is teaming up with Nuance Communications to use technology to solve a big pain point for doctors--too much time spent on documenting and administrative tasks. The two companies are collaborating to use ambient technology combined with artificial intelligence, automation and cloud computing to create an exam room experience where the clinical documentation "writes itself," the companies said in a press release. Physician burnout continues to be a significant problem in healthcare. A recent study shows that primary care doctors now spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour they're involved in direct patient care. Physicians reported one to two hours of after-hours work each night, mostly related to administrative tasks.
Physician burnout is one of the most serious conditions in today's medical profession. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines the condition as "a long-term stress reaction caused by emotional exhaustion [and] depersonalization," among other factors. According to the American Medical Association, physicians suffer from considerable stress caused by facets of their job that have little to do with actually providing personalized patient care. The AMA reports that physicians spend up to six hours daily working with electronic health records (EHRs) to adhere to government and hospital documentation requirements. That's six hours not spent seeing patients, and thus not having the time to listen carefully and diagnose, empathize, hold a hand, speak with family members, or explain conditions and next steps.
It's safe to say there are too many manual processes in medicine. While in training, I hand wrote lab values, diagnoses, and other chart notes on paper. I always knew this was an area in which technology could help improve my workflow and hoped it would also improve patient care. Since then, advancements in electronical medical records have been remarkable, but the information they provide is not much better than the old paper charts they replaced. If technology is to improve care in the future, then the electronic information provided to doctors needs to be enhanced by the power of analytics and machine learning.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the term used to describe the use of computers and technology to simulate intelligent behavior and critical thinking comparable to a human being. John McCarthy first defined the term AI in 1956 as the science and engineering of making intelligent machines. The following article gives a broad overview of AI in medicine, dealing with the terms and concepts as well as the current and future applications of AI. It aims to develop knowledge and familiarity with AI among primary care physicians. AI promises to change the practice of medicine in hitherto unknown ways.