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AI In Healthcare

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

By: Aldo Bautista

John, a man in his forties, steps into the doctor's office, visibly troubled by a persistent and bothersome cough. Seated in the examination room, he observes the doctor employing an advanced AI-powered tool to swiftly analyze John's symptoms, medical history, and recent health data. This high-tech wizardry assists the doctor in formulating a precise and effective treatment plan to alleviate John's discomfort and address his health concerns promptly. The future is here.

A Valuable Tool for Medical Care

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more integrated into healthcare, preparing healthcare professionals to utilize this modern technology becomes crucial. Training and education are vital for the shift to AI assisted healthcare.

    As of today, AI is considered a valuable tool by many for training future and current medical professionals, especially when it comes to offering simulation-based learning and personalized education. Makenna Gray, a healthcare educator working at G.H.S., envisions AI streamlining healthcare processes for both providers and patients, aiming to automate administrative tasks and enhance diagnostic accuracy. Gray states firmly, "Ultimately, artificial intelligence is going to help streamline the health care process for not just the doctors, but the patients as well. It's going to help comb through the data to get a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. I’m excited to see what's next!” An approach, Ms. Gray highlights is how AI can ensure accurate diagnoses and treatment plans by analyzing data from various sources such as patient records, lab results, and medical imaging. Using AI for these tasks could significantly save time for healthcare providers. Rather than spending extensive hours manually reviewing patient data, an AI program can swiftly analyze and process this information. This time efficiency allows doctors or nurse practitioners to redirect their focus towards direct patient care. The freed-up time enables healthcare providers to engage more deeply with patients, fostering stronger interpersonal relationships. They could offer patients more comprehensive explanations about their health conditions or treatment options, actively listen to concerns, and provide personalized guidance, ensuring a more empathetic and tailored healthcare experience.

Photo of medical poster

A Medical Poster featuring the muscles and interior of the heart on our campus.

Photograph by Aldo Bautista.

    Telemedicine and remote monitoring improve care accessibility and prevent errors by enabling remote check-ups and real-time monitoring of patient health conditions. Continuous education, facilitated by online courses and professional development programs, ensures healthcare professionals remain updated with the latest advancements, thereby delivering high-quality care. Training in how to use AI software in these areas of healthcare AI software training for telemedicine and remote monitoring significantly enhances healthcare practices. Considering its impact on improving patient care quality, accessibility, and error reduction, integrating this training as a regular part of healthcare providers' education appears paramount. As technology continues to evolve, embracing AI becomes crucial to maintain proficiency and deliver up-to-date, high-quality care. Regular training in AI software ensures that healthcare professionals remain adept at leveraging technological advancements, aligning with the evolving landscape of modern healthcare.

Reducing Human Error with Technology

Automation and technology play pivotal roles in reducing errors in the healthcare field. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (standardized practices used by healthcare providers) combined with technology effectively reduce human errors by establishing precise protocols for medical procedures and treatments. Automated systems monitor patient care processes, alerting healthcare providers to potential errors, thus enhancing patient safety. Mariela Martinez Jacobo, a nurse working at King City High School explains how: “AI [works] as a supportive tool for physicians to better diagnose and treat patients.” For instance, the AI program could continuously analyze the patient's vital signs and glucose levels in real-time. Let's say the patient's glucose levels start fluctuating unusually during the night, showing a rapid increase or decrease. The AI program, with its ability to detect patterns and abnormalities swiftly, might alert the nurse about these fluctuations, indicating a potential risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). This timely alert could prompt the nurse to reassess the patient's condition, perform necessary interventions, such as adjusting insulin dosage or administering glucose, thus preventing, or addressing a potential diabetic emergency before it escalates.

    Martinez envisions AI playing the role of assistant to the physicians. Martinez admits that while AI will help reduce human error, it will not completely "eradicate errors, but [will] lessen them.” After all it seems unlikely that patients will ever be comfortable with completely automated healthcare. As long as there are human doctors or nurses there will be the potential for preserving the human touch in healthcare, an element that encompasses empathy, emotional support, and personalized care beyond what technology can provide.

    Another way that AI can reduce the likelihood of human error is by prioritizing patient-centered care. In simpler terms, errors are less likely when the AI is in use in treatment plans that align with individual patient needs. Automation and technology currently personalize treatment plans by considering patients' medical history, preferences, and genetic profiles. Additionally, easy access to patients' medical histories through Electronic Health Records (EHRs) prevents errors in diagnoses or prescriptions. Martinez informs us that,” It's helping process large amounts of data more accurately and faster. By doing this, we are seeing earlier detection of diseases, making it easier for doctors to treat and diagnose their patients.”

    Data analytics and predictive modeling in healthcare can identify risks early, enhancing patient care by predicting disease patterns and potential outcomes. However, their effectiveness depends on quality data and ethical use of it in practice. For example, a good AI analytic program must still ensure patient confidentiality and data security while extracting valuable insights.

The Patient Comfort Factor

But not all of us are comfortable with the introduction and use of AI. G.H.S. senior, Gerry Cenobio told The Bruin’s Eye, he was pessimistic. Cenobio expresses: “If AI became a part of my life, it would be bad for the economy as it would take certain jobs away, but [on the other hand] for my own gain, it would be good [if] healthcare [became] cheaper.”

    Regarding the preference between AI and human intervention in surgeries, Gerry Cenobio mentioned,” If the Ai has aimbot, I wouldn't mind [its use in surgery, after all] a human can malfunction as much as a robot. [If it were a surgery needed today] I would let a human do it, but in the future I would let it be a robot [perform the surgery since by then] it would be more advanced. Like most sensible humans, Cenobio clarified that if the medical care he needed was major surgery “My[top]concern would still be my life, and I would pick [the surgeon, whether human or AI] that's more qualified.”

    The integration of AI, automation, and technology in healthcare aims to reduce errors, improve decision-making, and enhance health outcomes. Ethical integration and ongoing training are crucial. The focus should always remain on patient-centered, safer, and more efficient healthcare delivery to ensure better healthcare access and outcomes for all.