Healthcare AI can do a lot, but not everything

Healthcare AI has made great strides in the past decades. From AI early cancer detection, to computer-driven research and development, technology bolstering the healthcare system for everyone’s benefit. However, there is a crucial aspect of the healthcare industry that AI cannot fill, and that is the relationship between doctor and patient

Over the past years, health organizations, such as the FDA, have given clearances to many AI and other such technologies for use in Medicare, showing a clear shift in global perception towards these tools.

However, though the regulatory side of the healthcare AI is pretty much won, there is another challenge. Founder and CEO of diagnostic AI company Cardiologs,Yann Fleureau, said during a HIMSS20 online seminarthat the necessary next step is “adoption by the caregiver community”. Like any other technology, he adds,“it needs both extensive research and testing, academic proof-of-concept as well as real-world deployment before it can be relied upon for regular use.”

Fleureau also states that most of the healthcare AI tools, technologies and algorithms are made to extract hard data from large numbers, not to diagnose individual patients. Therein lies the other side of the coin. What does a patient do with all this data without the doctor’s guidance? “There are many decisions and questions in medicine for which there is no right or wrong answer.” says Fleureau.

“There are aspects of healthcare that can never be fully controlled by AI”, says Fleureau.He affirmsthat the human-to-human, doctor-to-patient relationship in healthcare will always have a fundamental place.”

In addition, he believes the role of doctors in the near future will not only be to guide the patient, but to bear the responsibility of “transgression rights” towards his patient. In other words, the doctor can override AI, and go against its decision with full authority and with full responsibility.

In short, Fleureau believes there are two core principles that can never be replaced by healthcare AI: transgression rights, and empathy, the trust and care between doctor-and-patient.