• By Dana Sparks

Science Saturday: Artificial Intelligence won’t replace your doctors, but it could make them better

January 25, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine is here, and it's advancing at an unprecedented pace. (Raise a bionic hand if you're imagining a robot scooting in to conduct your next checkup.)

In reality, AI is becoming a seamless, behind-the-scenes part of health care, undetected by the patients it serves. Instead, consumers will notice its downstream benefits: faster results, new treatment options, better outcomes and — ironically — a more human experience.

"AI is going to empower health care professionals to delegate some aspects of their job to computers, allowing them to spend more time with patients," says Rickey Carter, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic biostatistician. "The goal is not to replace clinicians, but to enhance the shared decision-making process between providers and the people they serve."

AI Meets M.D.

In health care, AI is simply a way of programming a computer to process and respond to data for better patient outcomes:

  1. Scientists feed large amounts of patient data, such as brain scans, into a computer. Central to this step is Mayo Clinic's deep respect for patient permission and privacy.
  2. The computer is trained by human experts to make associations between data and disease.
  3. The researchers use the statistical power of the computer to develop rules for how the information is processed, called an algorithm, which can make medical predictions. The AI improves over time as more and more patient data are added.
  4. Trained providers interpret and incorporate these AI predictions into patient care decisions.

A host of AI-related projects are being developed at Mayo to solve complex medical challenges.

Getting to the Heart of What's Possible for AI

Cardiovascular researchers Paul Friedman, M.D.Peter Noseworthy, M.D.Suraj Kapa, M.D.Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.; Itzhak Zachi Attia; and colleagues are building new AI tools capable of detecting asymptomatic heart disease.

Read the rest of the article on Discovery's Edge.
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