Dr. Bertalan Meskó, PhD, The Medical Futurist and the Director of The Medical Futurist Institute discusses some of the most exciting digital health trends and technologies, and their real impact on various levels of healthcare in a live Q&A session on 27 April 2023.
What are the trends in patient counselling with regards to AI?
Will ChatGPT be providing therapy? Will a mental health revolution be next?
Although there seems to be a push to integrate AI into mental health services, ChatGPT itself warns that it does not act as a replacement for a psychologist; should there be a serious issue, subscribers are directed to a medical professional.
Some AI enthusiasts see chatbots as having a great amount of potential in the treatment of milder, commonplace conditions, but research has demonstrated that interaction-based specialties with creative tasks are not prone to automation. It could offer quicker access and potential solution to countries where mental health services are stretched thin, but it is still in its infancy and there are still many questions regarding the kind of help it should offer.
How will generative AI be the co-pilot in healthcare?
Research has demonstrated that burnout is evident across all roles in the healthcare workforce, with staff reporting that they are spending hours each day completing paperwork.
AI can now help improve the experience of healthcare practitioners. For clinical intelligence, generative AI is excellent for summarising information. AI will not remove the tasks from health professionals, but the idea is to provide the best assistance to the. For example, AI can be used to analyse research papers or write newsletters to patients. Essentially, it eliminates the repetitive tasks, improving the day-to-day life of healthcare practitioners, letting them spend more time looking after patients.
Executives need to consider strategies for maximising adoption. There should be less concern about improving technologies and more concern should be placed on helping those who can adopt these technologies. Physicians need to develop trust and have an understanding that AI can be a good partner in helping to improve care delivery.
Finally, it is essential that doctors improve their capability to verify information when deep learning models provide a source reference. There may not be an AI tool that can give us all the answers for solving medical questions or writing research papers, and there is a chance that ChatGPT cannot provide a source. Ultimately doctors still have to be the one to verify the information.
Can AI advance health equity?
It is not easy to tackle access to healthcare services. If AI systems are trained on data sets that under-represent certain populations, they will create bias in the algorithms, which unfortunately will exacerbate health disparities.
Researchers, decision makers and policymakers across healthcare need to have a better eye view of population health, meaning they need to obtain large and representative data sets. New technologies can then analyse large, diverse data sets, and inform their work.
It can improve equity when done correctly, but in low resource regions, where they may not be access to a data platform, when departments may not have the computing infrastructure or analytic tools, or even when sample sets are too small, the gap will just widen.
Source: The Medical Futurist
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