Allied News Blog

How is Artificial Intelligence Changing Medicine?

Michael O’Leary | February 01, 2018



Artificial intelligence in healthcare is expected to dramatically change healthcare delivery in the future, which will impact not only patients, but the people who provide healthcare. Allied healthcare providers, nurses, and doctors will all be impacted as AI in medicine takes on current human tasks, such as assisting in diagnosis and treatment decisions.

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The future of artificial intelligence in medicine

Imagine going to your doctor for a visit, and an artificial intelligence machine rolls into the exam room, says good morning, and gently takes your wrist in a robotic hand and records your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature into your electronic medical record, then explains the results of your most recent lab tests.

While the ability of artificial intelligence machines to take over a med tech’s job is still in the future, there already is an app to explain your lab tests, according to HealthIT News. Offered by a company called Scanadu, their new app is a conversationalist robot.

It uses natural language processing to converse with patients and is designed to relieve doctors of the task of explaining lab results.

Artificial intelligence in healthcare assists in diagnosis

In another example of how artificial intelligence is changing healthcare, a Dutch company is developing software to diagnose a patient’s lung cancer. In a recent report by, Aidence in the Netherlands recently received a CE Mark, the equivalent of FDA approval, to market its imaging software for diagnosing pulmonary nodules.

The system is being tested in several hospitals in the Netherlands and is designed to assist radiologists by providing automated detection of suspicious lung lesions on CT exams.

Should healthcare providers fear artificial intelligence in medicine?

While many healthcare workers, including doctors, fear that the coming of AI in healthcare will make their jobs obsolete, most experts think that AI will merely be used primarily to assist healthcare providers, or at least in the near term.

In fact, some experts suggest that artificial intelligence in healthcare should be reframed as “augmented intelligence,” because AI is not going to replace healthcare jobs in the near future; rather, artificial intelligence in healthcare will be used to improve efficiency, care delivery, and patient outcomes.

Humans plus artificial intelligence in healthcare will mean better outcomes

At the October 2017 meeting of the National Committee for Quality Assurance Quality Talks, Chief Health Officer at IBM Watson Health. Kyu Rhee, MD, laid out three principles for guiding AI in medicine: purpose, transparency, and skills.

As reported in Quality News Today, Dr. Rhee explained that the purpose principle is that AI is designed to support humans, not replace them. AI vendors must be transparent in terms of how AI, machine learning, and cognitive computing systems are trained, and the new era of AI in healthcare will mean acquiring new skills for healthcare workers, and that humans plus AI will mean better outcomes for patients.

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