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AI in healthcare: Boon or Bane?

While artificial intelligence may seem like it would be terrifying, it may be surprised to learn that it could help drastically improve the healthcare world as a whole. Things like machine learning and artificial intelligence programs geared towards patient care could help take a severe amount of stress off of the medical field. In turn, this would allow the movement of resources towards patient treatment instead of propping up the weakening healthcare system.

It is not surprising that the healthcare system is as stretched as it is, with the recent population booms and the political uncertainty following various healthcare programs, a large portion of the medical field is in flux. With widening gaps in patient care and an overwhelming amount of medical misdiagnosis, healthcare is in need of drastic improvement.  

But is jumping into something as new and potentially dangerous as artificial intelligence and learning technology worth the potential gains?

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Boon or Bane?

Artificial Intelligence: The Pros and Cons

In a practical sense, machine learning and artificial intelligence place a large amount of information in one location. While this can have its benefits, it can also increase the potential for misuse and system failure. Once past the potential for system wipes and viruses that could delete years of important patient data, there is the concern of potential security breaches. In its essence, artificial intelligence and machine learning programs rely on taking information from multiple different areas while allowing doctors to access their patient’s data.

In turn, medical professionals could use this data to track potential symptoms and genetic illnesses that they may have missed otherwise. While the doctor would still have the final word on patient treatment, AI programs would be able to detect potential illnesses and issues that the doctor may have missed. In an ideal world, this would streamline patient treatment and prevent misdiagnosis.

However, there is a darker side to using these kinds of programs. Artificial intelligence would have the ability to tap into a wide range of medical programs, including personal devices such as personal trackers. In the hands of a trained and licensed medical professional, this information is safe. However, if any potential hackers were able to interrupt a signal from one of these devices, they could cause a breach of personal privacy, or worse.

Because of the potential scale of this kind of program, the opportunity for disaster is that much larger. Without proper caution, a single security flaw could result in the release of millions of medical records, as well as classified patient information such as social security and credit card information.

While artificial intelligence may be the answer to the current issues within the world of healthcare, it is important to understand the potential issues that this kind of system could cause down the road if not handled correctly.

Source(s):

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/slideshow/how-ai-transforming-healthcare-and-solving-problems-2017?page=1 

http://news.mit.edu/2017/using-machine-learning-improve-patient-care-0821  

http://www.cuspe.org/the-opportunities-and-risks-of-artificial-intelligence-in-medicine-and-healthcare/

(As well as prior research locations from past articles) 

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