A professor in Australia predicts that data labs will soon be popping up in healthcare and that, to make sense of the reams of health data being generated, a whole new profession needs to be invented, constructed and trained. But he moves on to say that artificial intelligence (AI) will not impact healthcare workers in their lifetime or perhaps that of their great grandchildren. This is where I disagree. Health data that provides actionable insights can and will augment the care we receive and it is already happening. Kevin Kelly, founder of WIRED, says it well, the best doctor in the world is a human plus AI. Technology, and AI in particular, is going to enable doctors to get to the right answers, quicker; to give better care. And sooner rather than later.
Last month, at HIMSS 2017 (a global health IT conference), CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, gave an example of doctors in India using cognitive computing to do something in 20 seconds which would otherwise take 20 minutes. It is already happening and whilst AI won't replace healthcare professionals, the successful ones will be those who embrace the technology and the opportunities to upskill themselves.
Although AI will be a useful tool to doctors, the technology will remain just that for some time, Vasa said. “'Will it replace me?' is a question I always get asked by healthcare workers,” he said. “If you’re a healthcare professional, you’ll be way past, you’ll be retired, before this gets even close to thinking of it. So don’t worry about it’s not in your lifetime it will probably not be in the lifetime of your great grandchildren.”