Ayden Jacob, MD, MSc

Creating the AI Physician: Empowering the End User

Nearly every specialty domain in medicine will benefit from the utilization of AI technology by the end of this decade.

Unlike innovations in genomic sequencing or robotics, the AI revolution in medicine is tangible in a practical manner throughout a wide spectrum of subspecialties. With the advent of robotic surgery, the onus of training alongside this new innovation rested on one singular specialty: surgery.

Novelties in the hospital setting do not necessarily dictate the need for physicians to learn how those innovations operate behind the scenes. For example, oncologists may utilize genomic data to improve the lifespan of their cancer patients, but understanding how genomic data is gathered and mined won’t necessarily make them a more impactful physician. The same holds true for robotics: only surgeons need to train on a DaVinci robot, and their expertise is limited to the realm of utilization of this tool. In stark contrast, as healthcare delivery has entered the age of AI, the consequent need for meaningful human-machine engagement is paramount to creating better health outcomes.

An appealing case can be made for educating physicians in AI technology for the sole purpose of improving patient outcomes in the next decade.

In a four-part series, we are diving into the varying elements at play to achieve the goal of “Creating the AI Physician,” including:

  • Empowering the End User (you are here)
  • The Innovative Radiologist
  • Garnering Administrative Support
  • Ethical Considerations and Vendors as Educational Leaders

Empowering the End User

It is no secret that the business of healthcare offers investors robust returns on their investments. American healthcare saw a booming influx of investments over the last decade, as Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD, highlighted that in 2010 there were 325 private equity deals in U.S. health care with that number increasing to over 1000 by 2021. Financial incentives create ripe innovation. However, the obstacle of constant innovation is limited utility in the real-world setting. As companies across the healthcare industry aim to garner investments, they tend to forget the end user, the physician.

For technology to gain traction and longevity in medicine, the doctor’s role needs to be inculcated in the development of said technology. Without ensuring that the physician body will utilize this product efficiently, technological advancements have a high probability of failing. Physicians should be educated in a manner that empowers them to understand the technological capabilities and limitations of AI, thereby facilitating a smooth transition into the age of AI in medicine. The end user in medicine is the physician, and if we aspire for an ethical and advantageous integration of AI in healthcare, the doctor should be informed, educated and trained on the systems aiming to transform patient care. By training physicians in AI, doctors can learn to interpret AI-generated insights, validating and augmenting their clinical judgment. With the assistance of AI, physicians can potentially improve the accuracy of diagnoses made by AI algorithms, thereby reducing misdiagnosis rates, and expediting the development of treatment plans.

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Ayden Jacob, MD, MSc