Is AI technology key to ensuring better patient care for #futurehealth?
It’s critical that we remember the point of healthcare – to make patients better. For all the hyperbole about what AI can achieve in improving efficiency and costs, it will only really count as a success if it improves experience and outcomes for the patient.
The experts were keen to reiterate that AI is not the solution in itself, but an enabler of improved care and outcomes: “I think too many are being led to believe that investing in #AI is all that’s needed (or the only path) to ensure better patient care,” said Maneesh Juneja, one of the world’s leading digital health futurists. “There is a lot that can be done to improve patient care that doesn’t always warrant #AI.”
Other replies included:
To ensure AI-enabled patient care is operating at scale – what needs to happen?
The question of how to scale effectively remains a difficult one to answer fully. But even if the final answer isn’t clear, our participants believed the success of scaling AI lies with moving the patient to the center of the healthcare experience, and more transparency from industry innovators and technologists. Danielle Siarri, Founder of InnoNurse, emphasized that scaling AI in healthcare “starts with the team” and everyone involved in innovation, including patients and clinicians.
There was agreement on the need to respect the fact that AI is new and, to many people, scary. AI can’t be trust on the healthcare system and the professionals and patients inside it unless everyone trusts it is there to benefit them. This is something that will take time, effort and education.
Vincenzo Marra, a medical student and co-founder of DigitalUHealth, joined the discussion and argued that “To operate at scale, AI-enabled patient care needs to be supported by robust evidence of effectiveness that will ensure a real improvement of the care from the point of view of safety, transparency and psycho-physical wellbeing.”
Maneesh Juneja reiterated the importance of this aspect of the debate: “If we are to scale AI in healthcare, trust and transparency are critical. I’m not sure most organizations understand that. We also need better education and a balanced debate. Most people (including myself) are not AI experts.”
Vanessa Carter, an e-patient advocate based in South Africa, added a case study. “In South Africa, access to ICTs, which is underway through the #SDGs and organizations like @ITU. Then, digital empowerment for all users so they understand the value of #AI and quality data. Those stakeholders include patients and caregivers”.
Others replied included:
Five years from now, how will AI tools support a patient journey?
If AI fulfils its potential and overcomes the remaining obstacles to greater implementation, the patient journey as we know it will be transformed.
As Maneesh Juneja summed up: “In an ideal world, future #AI tools would be there to support preventative care, i.e. to intervene early enough, so that people do not become patients [in the first place].”
Even if we can’t reach such a lofty ambition, we can still aim high, he believes: “I would hope that in five years’ time, #AI tools would help patients avoid as many trips to healthcare facilities as possible. Bringing the hospital into the home (or wherever the patient happens to be) – not everyone can take the day off work to visit the doctor.”
Oncologist Harsha Doddihal supported this hope that AI will very soon be enabling an easier patient life, “In five years, patients will save a lot of time visiting clinics and hospitals. The 80:20 rule will play out. Most patients will have their problem resolved with digital health aided by AI.”
To make this a reality, the discussion returned – and then drew to a close – with the running theme of this whole #Philipschat: putting the patient at the center of all AI development.