The need for AI in health care
The health care sector is in need of a revolution, Manoharan believes. “Healthcare systems and providers are under huge pressure, now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says, to which she adds, “We are dealing with global staff shortages, aging populations, and lifestyle-related chronic diseases.”
At the same time, digital transformation is driving exponential growth of health data. With digitization and connectivity becoming ubiquitous, we’re more capable than ever to collect information about individual and population health. But putting that data to use is a huge challenge.
“I remember clinicians telling me, ‘Just because we have a lot of data, don’t overload me with that, I need relevant and precise information, at the point of decision making,’” says Manoharan.
Artificial intelligence provides unprecedented opportunities to put all this data to good use and help physicians, clinicians, health care workers, and patients to make more informed decisions.
“AI enables our devices, systems, software, and services to be context-aware, precise, personalized, predictive, and pro-active,” Manoharan says. “By turning data into actionable insights for precision health, we will enable precise and personalized care across the health continuum.”
But in addition to improving the precision of health care, AI can make the entire experience of medical care more human. With the help of AI, doctors will spend less time poring over data and medical records and will have more time to spend with patients.
“AI can help free clinicians from more mundane tasks, so that they are able to focus on what they do best and engage with patients in a more precise and personalized way, with the potential to increase value over time,” Manoharan says.
While a lot of the discussion surrounding AI is about software replacing humans, in health care, AI must be considered as an augmenting factor.
“A lot of the decisions that clinicians make on a daily basis are incredibly complex and require more than an AI- or data-driven approach alone. It’s the augmented intelligence and support for decision making at the right time that helps to make a difference to effective patient management,” Manoharan says, adding that taking a human-centered approach to AI development is important. “I strongly believe that clinicians and AI have unique strengths that complement and augment each other, not replace each other.”