By Adarsh Jain, editor, Transparency Market Research.
A rosy picture is always a tricky perception. Artificial Intelligence or AI as it is known, is also very similar. Research publications are inundated with the findings that integrate AI with industry for better outcomes. And in most cases, these findings prove to be worthy in one way or other. But, the picture for healthcare is not as rosy as it seems to be. While tech companies across the world have invested in developing products that will assist the practitioner in making better decisions, doctors have their own doubts in implementing them. Despite these doubts, there is enough hope for players in an upcoming market like AI in healthcare, finds a Transparency Market Research study.
Will AI take away jobs?
In most industries, this has been the million dollar question. And, as serious as it may sound, experts have, time and again, clarified that AI is not going to take away jobs. It, of course, will augment decision-making and, thus, help produce better outcomes. Healthcare should be no different.
Before medical practitioners make a hasty call, it is important for them to realize that AI is a machine, and it clearly works based on algorithms. A machine does not have a human brain to be able to take conscious decisions. It, however, is only a critical aid in taking better decisions. There is no doubt that a large pool of data on admissions, medical history, procedures, conditions, etc. remains untouched across the world, states the TMR study. Processing and inferring from this large a pool of data is humanly impossible. This is where AI can aid physicians. What has happened is that the use of AI has affected radiologists and pathologists the most. For long, these two healthcare professionals have been the backbone of discerning abnormalities in human body functions or detecting conditions.
While healthcare organizations and experts, including government representatives, have proposed the use of AI in diagnosis, the risk of misjudgment bothers medical professionals. A wrong diagnosis or treatment could result in loss of life, and invite severe action against the healthcare professional. This argument from the healthcare professionals hold weight and, perhaps is a strong emotional reason for doctors from being reluctant towards introducing AI in their practice.
Lack of regulations is the caveat
A process bound by regulations is always more effective. In most countries, there is no law that defines the use of AI in medical practice. There is hardly any information that speaks about the limit to which the use of AI should be restricted. Also, the lack of information on the right usage, and ensuring all inferences or decisions based on AI are error-free is a huge caveat.
At a time when tech giants, especially in the United States, are vigorously working towards rolling out AI in healthcare, it is prudent to have regulations that define usage. It is just the matter of one country making the move, and when that happens, the rest are likely to follow suit, states the TMR report.
Data Privacy is the larger issue
Today, if there is a threat that bothers everyone from an individual to a government, it is data breach. Introducing AI in healthcare will make room for storing data of patients that too in large pools. The threat of security looms over medical professionals and the demand for guarantee of data security only seems just. In fact, experts even cite that medical data could be potential to threaten a country. For an issue that holds utmost sensitivity, it is more than needed to cement assurance before implementing AI in healthcare.
Training medical professionals also key
Clearing the blurred vision of medical professionals towards the use of AI in healthcare is just half the job done. The key to success also lies in training healthcare providers is using AI. And, the responsibility of this largely lies with the companies in the global AI in healthcare market. Here again, the companies might enjoy autonomy in designing their training program, it is essential that these programs are designed following guidelines set by medical regulatory bodies. Experts suggest that accrediting the program with a regulatory body could make it credible, says TMR report. A solution to this could be companies in the global AI in healthcare market offering online CME (continuing medical education) courses. It is mandatory for doctors to take up CMEs periodically during their practice as it forms a criterion for license renewal.