A group of doctors and data scientists is calling on hospitals to create clinical departments devoted to artificial intelligence to harness the power of the technology to transform patient care.
While there have been many predictions of AI’s potential to benefit health care delivery—from helping doctors perform surgery to catching cancer earlier—the technology’s benefits so far have been blunted by inconsistent implementation, the researchers say. They outline a plan to make hospitals “AI ready,” in a way they say would enhance both patient care and medical research.
AI in Health Care
UVA Health’s Dr. David J. Stone and colleagues from several other major medical centers outlined their plan in a new article in the scientific journal BMJ Health & Care Informatics that was highlighted in the July 22 issue of the STAT health news site’s Healthtech newsletter. They begin by offering a frank assessment of the current integration of AI in health care: “The reality of the available evidence increasingly leaves little room for optimism,” they write. “There is a stark contrast between the lack of concrete penetration of AI in medical practice and the expectations set by the presence of AI in our daily life.”
The authors are particularly concerned that the implementation of artificial intelligence into health care not be burdened by problems that have accompanied the use of electronic health records. Many clinicians have complained that electronic health records were poorly designed to fit into their workflows and have added greatly to their documentation burden while distracting them from their patients. (Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon, has opined, “We’ve reached a point where people in the medical profession actively, viscerally, volubly hate their computers.”)
The disorganization that is holding back AI’s potential in health care must be addressed systematically, the authors