Artificial intelligence in healthcare

Artificial intelligence in healthcare


It is the belief of many thinkers that it is important to contemplate the intersection of artificial intelligence and healthcare from a perspective of compassion, wisdom, and human well-being. The advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to revolutionize healthcare in profound ways, offering both opportunities and challenges that we must approach thoughtfully and ethically. Therefore, the overall driving force for the implementation of these important advancements in the delivery of effective and positive healthcare should be responsibility for the outcome of any such interventions. Firstly, we must recognize the immense potential of AI in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. AI-powered technologies can analyse vast amounts of data at speeds unimaginable to humans, leading to quicker and more accurate diagnoses. By incorporating AI into medical imaging, for example, we can enhance early detection of diseases such as cancer, ultimately saving more lives. Nowhere in medical practice is such new technology likely to be more disruptive than the recent development of an imaging device, small enough to fit into the palm and advanced enough to have its images available for interpretation on an iPhone or an Android device. It is described as potentially disruptive because it could challenge the traditional stethoscope for dominance. This device delivers real diagnosis in the outpatient clinic and at the patient’s bedside.

Moreover, AI can assist healthcare professionals in making more informed decisions by predicting outcomes, personalizing treatment plans, and even aiding in surgical procedures. Such advancements have the power to not only improve patient outcomes but also alleviate the burden on healthcare systems by optimizing resource allocation and enhancing workflow efficiency. However, as we embrace the promise of AI in healthcare, it is crucial to remain mindful of the ethical considerations that arise. We must ensure that the use of AI is guided by principles of compassion, empathy, and respect for human dignity.  The deployment of AI should never overshadow the fundamental values of healthcare, wherein human professionals must bear the ultimate responsibility for making crucial decisions that are certain to be of maximum benefit to the individuals obtaining the required care. We must also reflect on the implications for the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals. While AI can augment and enhance the capabilities of healthcare providers, it cannot replace the essential human qualities that are central to healing and caregiving. Compassion, empathy, and ethical judgment are irreplaceable aspects of healthcare that must be cultivated and upheld in the age of AI. To be sure, the conference organized in 2023 by the United Kingdom on responsible use of AI went a long way to establish the ground rules for its deployment in the healthcare industry.

The healthcare workforce faces challenges due to rising patient demands, aging populations, and workforce shortages in the principal advanced countries. AI can automate routine tasks, allowing healthcare professionals to focus more on patient care. This can improve staff morale and retention. Additionally, AI can assist in managing complex patient needs, shifting from episodic care to long-term care management. In resource-poor countries that have not even built an adequate infrastructure to deliver quality healthcare to their populations, AI could present them with the quantum leap they need to be at par with some of the more advanced nations of the world if political will permits. Such countries can leverage current technology and build robust systems that can sustain such improvements. Let us consider the really big hospitals we have in this country; they are typically the teaching hospitals and the federal medical centres. Some state-owned general and specialist hospitals also belong to that category. AI can revolutionize healthcare in such hospitals by enhancing patient care, improving efficiency, and streamlining workforce challenges. However, it must be implemented thoughtfully, considering both benefits and risks.

Healthcare spending is not keeping up with demand without a shred of doubt. Without transformational change, healthcare systems may struggle to remain sustainable. AI can help reduce costs by optimizing resource allocation, improving operational efficiency, and preventing medical errors. Properly designed AI systems can make the healthcare system more efficient and less expensive. AI can improve access to care, especially for people in rural or underserved areas with limited medical professionals. For those people, telemedicine and AI-powered diagnostics can bridge gaps in healthcare access, providing timely services to remote populations. As a prelude to this important aspect of next-level care, virtual clinics as currently being run in many middle-income countries and emerging market economies, can help bridge that gap. But to make this even possible, there must be reliable internet services and a constant power supply, both of which services have remained elusive in our dear country. AI offers immense potential, and ethical debates surround its use. Questions constantly arise about data privacy, bias, and transparency. Similar concerns are routinely expressed about the safety of data from hostile breaches especially via the constantly increasing threat from malicious malware, many of which engage in identity theft that enables criminals to access more personal data.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *