Physician viewpoint: AI will ‘restore the care in healthcare’

In an interview with The New York Times, cardiologist Eric Topol, MD, describes how AI has the potential to alter everything physicians do, but he emphasized that it won't replace physicians.

The author of Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again, Dr. Topol suggests AI allows physicians to spend more time connecting with patients. While note-taking and scan- reading tools have become the  norm, these tools continue to develop, making AI more than just a diagnostic and treatment tool.

Dr. Topol said he expects the technology to lower healthcare costs.

"By augmenting human performance, AI has the potential to markedly improve productivity, efficiency, workflow, accuracy and speed, both for [physicians] and for patients," he told the Times.

Although AI holds promise with "keyboard liberation" and pattern recognition, the technology is susceptible to data breaches and hacking, he said.

"There's no shortage of deep liabilities for AI in healthcare," the cardiologist said. "The liabilities include breaches of privacy and security, hacking, the lack of explainability of most AI algorithms, the potential to worsen inequalities, the embedded bias and ethical quandaries."

However, despite these potential problems, physicians and hospital executives support AI development.

Dr. Topol suggests clinician burnout and depression could be reduced by using AI. But to make this possible, the medical community will need champions to ensure the installation of AI does not harm the physician-patient relationship.

“What I’m most excited about is using the future to bring back the past: To restore the care in health care,” he said.

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In an interview with The New York Times, cardiologist Eric Topol, MD, describes how AI has the potential to alter everything physicians do, but he emphasized that it won't replace physicians.

The author of Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again, Dr. Topol suggests AI allows physicians to spend more time connecting with patients. While note-taking and scan- reading tools have become the norm, these tools continue to develop, making AI more than just a diagnostic and treatment tool.

Dr. Topol said he expects the technology to lower healthcare costs.

"By augmenting human performance, AI has the potential to markedly improve productivity, efficiency, workflow, accuracy and speed, both for [physicians] and for patients," he told the Times.

Although AI holds promise with "keyboard liberation" and pattern recognition, the technology is susceptible to data breaches and hacking, he said.

"There's no shortage of deep liabilities for AI in healthcare," the cardiologist said. "The liabilities include breaches of privacy and security, hacking, the lack of explainability of most AI algorithms, the potential to worsen inequalities, the embedded bias and ethical quandaries."

However, despite these potential problems, physicians and hospital executives support AI development.

Dr. Topol suggests clinician burnout and depression could be reduced by using AI. But to make this possible, the medical community will need champions to ensure the installation of AI does not harm the physician-patient relationship.

“What I’m most excited about is using the future to bring back the past: To restore the care in health care,” he said.

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