Home Artificial Intelligence Is medicine ready for AI? Doctors, computer scientists, and policymakers are cautiously optimistic

Is medicine ready for AI? Doctors, computer scientists, and policymakers are cautiously optimistic

Is medicine ready for AI? Doctors, computer scientists, and policymakers are cautiously optimistic

The appearance of generative artificial intelligence models like ChatGPT has prompted renewed calls for AI in health care, and its support base only appears to be broadening.

The second annual MIT-MGB AI Cures Conference, hosted on April 24 by the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (Jameel Clinic), saw its attendance nearly double this yr, with over 500 attendees from an array of backgrounds in computer science, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and policy. 

In contrast to the overcast Boston weather that morning, lots of the speakers took an optimistic view of AI in health and reiterated two key ideas throughout the day: that AI has the potential to create a more equitable health-care system, and AI won’t be replacing clinicians anytime soon — but clinicians who know use AI will eventually replace clinicians who don’t incorporate AI into their each day practice. 

“Collaborations with our partners in government, especially collaborations on the intersection of policy and innovation, are critical to our work,” MIT Provost Cynthia Barnhart stated in her opening remarks to the audience. “The entire pioneering activity you’ll hear about today leaves me very longing for the longer term of human health.” 

Massachusetts General Brigham’s (MGB) president and CEO Anne Klibanski’s remarks reflected the same optimism: “We’ve visionaries here in AI, we have now visionaries here in health care. If this group can’t come together in a meaningful solution to impact health care, we have now to ask ourselves why we’re here … this can be a time when we have now to rethink health care.” Klibanski called attention to the work of Jameel Clinic AI faculty lead, AI Cures co-chair, and MIT Professor Regina Barzilay and MGB Center for Innovation in Early Cancer Detection Director Lecia Sequist, whose research in lung cancer risk assessment is an example of how the continued collaboration between MIT and MGB could yield fruitful results for the longer term of AI in medicine. 

“Is AI going to be the thing that cures every thing with our ailing health care system?” asked newly inaugurated Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh. “I don’t think so, but I believe it’s an incredible place to begin.” Walsh highlighted the pandemic as a wake-up call for the health care system and focused on AI’s potential to ascertain more equitable care, particularly for those with disabilities, in addition to augment an already burdened workforce. “We absolutely must do higher … AI can look across populations and develop insights into where the health care system is failing us and redistribute the health care system so it will possibly do more.” 

Barzilay called out the marked absence of AI in health care today with a reference to the No Surprises Act implemented last yr, which requires insurance firms to be transparent about billing codes. “The FDA has approved over 500 AI tools in the previous couple of years and from the five hundred models, only 10 have associated billing codes which can be actually used,” she said. “What this shows is that AI’s final result on patients is basically limited, and my hope is that this conference brings together individuals who develop AI, clinicians who’re those bringing innovation to patients, regulators, and other people from biotech who’re translation these innovations into products. With this forum we have now a probability to vary that.” 

Despite the keenness, speakers didn’t sugarcoat the potential risks, nor did they downplay importance of safety in the event and implementation of clinical AI tools.

“You’ve got those that think that AI goes to unravel all of the world’s problems within the health-care space, replace the world’s physicians, and revolutionize health care. After which you will have the opposite side of the spectrum that claims how bad AI is for our economy and the way it’s going to take over the world, developing an intelligence of its own,” Jameel Clinic principal investigator, AI Cures speaker, and MIT Professor Collin Stultz said. “None of those concepts are latest, but like most things in life, the reality is somewhere in the center.”  

“There are at all times potential unintended consequences,” CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance and the Cambridge Commissioner of Public Health Assaad Sayah identified throughout the conference’s regulatory panel. “At the tip of the day, it’s hard to predict what are the potential consequences and have the suitable safeguards … many things are really inappropriately inequitable for certain sub-populations … there’s a lot data that is been hard to contain. I might implore all of you to maintain this in mind.” 


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