To address the physician shortage, Japan plans 10 'AI hospitals' — Here's what they will look like

The Japanese government thinks it found a way to curb the physician shortage, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

The government plans to invest more than $100 million over the next five years to build 10 model hospitals enhanced by artificial intelligence as part of an effort to ease administrative burdens, such as updating patients' charts or analyzing tests and images to suggest possible diagnoses. It is teaming up with businesses and academia for the effort.

Japan's education, industry and health ministries will help recruit companies and hospitals this month. They are specifically look for AI specialists and medical equipment manufacturers. Initial efforts will focus on cancer patients, using data from blood pressure meters, electrocardiographs and other devices to improve the AI programs' accuracy.

The AI-assisted programs will automatically enter information into patients' medical records based on conversations with physicians during examinations. They will also be used to review MRI and endoscopic imaging, as well as analyze blood tests and other information. Eventually, the government hopes hospitals could use AI to study patients' DNA to recommend various treatment options.

The Japanese government's goal is to use AI in a supporting role to free up physicians' workloads so they can spend more time with patients and discuss their conditions face-to-face. The agencies expect using AI to improve treatments will cut down on unnecessary labs and procedures, and the government thinks the effort will save it hundreds of billions of yen per year.

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