Trust is at a worrying low point with only 54% of the general population trusting their country’s healthcare system, according to the 2017 Future Health Index research just published by Philips. And it is clear that the vast majority wantcare to continue to have the human touch with only 11% prepared to consult a hologram doctor and 10% agreeable to accept robot healthcare professionals1.
But – and this is where the mission to educate needs to accelerate – the use of patient data, advanced diagnostic techniques, and devices that allow care in the home, can revolutionize outcomes for patients and save money for systems struggling with an aging, and more demanding, populations.
The key is to move away from the term AI and champion machine learning – the capability of computers to store, process and make connections faster than the human brain – as a natural partner of the human element of healthcare.
The fact that a computer system has the ability to interrogate medical records, case histories, regulatory guidelines and scientific developments and provide the same clinical judgment as eminent physicians should be welcomed rather than feared. Algorithms and digital innovations have a place alongside the white coat and the stethoscope.
The public is keen to embrace technology – the speed of uptake of lifestyle wearables has been phenomenal and the market reached an estimated value of $28.7 billion in 2016 with the number of smart phone users expected to rise to 6.1 billion globally in 2020 – all are powered by or harness AI.
Healthcare is different to lifestyle as it carries the weight of history but the barriers to accepting technology as a daily part of the patient-physician pathway should not be insurmountable.