The Pros and Cons of AI in Healthcare
What to know about the future of patient care delivery
We use artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. Now with the rise of more robust AI technology, various industries, such as healthcare, are beginning to explore its possibilities.
Utilizing AI in healthcare could potentially streamline processes, improve patient care experiences and reduce costs. However, like most things, with the pros comes the cons. Issues like data security and privacy are top of mind for organizations looking to implement AI technology. So, understanding both sides of Healthcare AI aids healthcare professionals in making informed decisions about the future of healthcare.
AI development is exciting for the world of healthcare and presents a lot of opportunities for improvements and advancements.
Streamline Processes and Reduce Burnout
It’s no secret that there’s a shortage of healthcare professionals. A shortage that’s led to an increase in clinician burnout and a higher risk for poor quality of care given. Luckily, artificial intelligence can help with this! By allowing smart technology to automate processes such as coding procedures and EHR documentation, clinicians have a reduced administrative workload and can spend more time with patients.
Improve Patient Care
Additionally, machine learning (a type of AI) has the capability to analyze large amounts of data and recognize patterns quickly. This allows physicians to diagnose patients more efficiently and oftentimes more effectively than prior to the use of AI. And as the use of artificial intelligence in medical diagnosing develops there is the potential for more precise and personalized treatments.
Another advantage of AI is its ability to eliminate bias and promote equity. Machines are not inherently susceptible to bias. So they are able to produce results without the influence of implicit biases or stereotypes.
Healthcare AI also has the ability to reduce costs for both providers and patients. AI can help optimize the processes of coding medical procedures and services which often have significant costs associated with it. Artificial intelligence can also identify and correct coding errors to reduce the potential for financial penalties or denied claims. According to a report by McKinsey and Harvard researchers, AI could save the U.S. healthcare system up to 360 billion dollars.
Advance Medical Research
One of the largest proponents behind utilizing healthcare AI is its potential for driving advancement in medical research. Due to its ability to process and analyze large data sets, AI can gather and break down complex research population information. It gives researchers the ability to dive into why, how and what people develop certain diseases. This allows for advancement in preventive care.
Although artificial intelligence presents a lot of opportunities for the healthcare industry, there are some downsides to keep in mind.
Security and Privacy
One of the main concerns of utilizing AI in healthcare is data security. Typically, organizations are advised to keep their data in separated, highly HIPAA compliant systems. However, AI algorithms require large amounts of data to be stored in a single place, creating an attractive target for hackers.
In addition to traditional cyber attacks, artificial intelligence systems are also susceptible to “adversarial attacks”. An attack like this is where hackers alter images or data points causing the AI system to draw false conclusions. This can be greatly concerning if clinicians are relying on AI generated data to draw accurate conclusions when diagnosing patients.
Privacy is another major concern when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. HIPAA requires that patient data be de-identified. However, due to its powerful capabilities, smart technology can recognize links and patterns between data therefore reidentifying the data. Utilizing healthcare AI will require the creation of specific privacy laws and regulations that protect patient data.
The ethical concerns regarding AI tools are likely going to be the trickiest to navigate. Since smart systems are complex by nature, their processes often exceed human comprehension. This complexity can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to fully trust AI’s conclusions. Artificial intelligence also makes the waters murky when it comes to malpractice laws and who is liable for a life threatening mistake.
Similarly, trust is crucial in developing a patient/provider relationship and can directly affect the patient’s care experience. However, deep mistrust in machines, particularly with older patients, could potentially harm the patient/provider relationship if AI is heavily involved.
Additionally, although machine learning technology isn’t inherently biased, it is susceptible to learning biases through skewed or incomplete data inputs. Therefore, there is a large responsibility on those in charge of training and developing healthcare AI systems.
Powering Innovative Healthcare Technologies
There is still a lot unknown about healthcare AI and what it might bring to the future of the industry. But there is no doubt that artificial intelligence will be an integral part of patient care someday, despite its potential downsides.
Speaking of innovative healthcare, we’d like to take a moment to introduce OpenLoop! We provide intuitive telehealth technology customized for your business and your patients. Our provider staffing services and clinician network are NCQA certified with nationwide payer coverage.
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