How AI Doctors are Transforming Healthcare: What's Next?

How AI Doctors are Transforming Healthcare: What's Next?

AI in Healthcare

Updated on 06 Jul 2023

Written by Dr. George Laliotis

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When we hear a doctor, we imagine an adult in a white coat with a stethoscope, a friendly smile, and a desire to help us. How can we trust a robot to do the job of our beloved medical professionals? Turns out that AI Doctors are doing a lot better than expected, and may soon be helping you out with your next medical question. 

In this article we are going to discuss:

  • Significant steps AI has already taken in the medical field in diagnosis, analysis, and as a medical assistant
  • How AI doctors do not replace medical professionals but assist them in addressing patients
  • The bright future of AI automation as chatbots
  • The ethical consequences of taking medical advice from AI Doctors 
     

Definition and Role of AI Doctors:

AI Doctors, also called virtual doctors or digital doctors, are advanced systems that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to transform healthcare delivery. From the user’s end, they are like a chatbot that gives a quick consultation from given information. These cutting-edge systems combine data analysis, machine learning algorithms, and natural language processing to assist in medical diagnostics, treatment planning, and patient care.

With more patients and doctors interested in utilizing AI Doctors and listening to their diagnoses and suggestions, we see a large shift in the healthcare field, making it more accessible, efficient, and effective.

AI in medical diagnosis and treatment

At its core, AI Doctors possess the ability to process and analyze vast amounts of medical information with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By integrating electronic health records, published medical papers, and patient data, these systems excel in identifying patterns that cannot be easily seen with the human eye. This saves doctors lots of time and opens a world of new possibilities in diagnosing early detection of disease or any abnormalities.

With more advanced technologies allowing for more complex medicines to be developed at an accelerated rate, AI doctors will play a crucial role in treatment planning by providing evidence-based recommendations. With machine learning algorithms, these systems are always being updated with data that enables them to have a deeper understanding of how medications work.

With all of this new information, AI Doctors formulate personalized treatment plans tailored to individual patients' needs. The collaborative partnership between AI doctors and human physicians fosters shared decision-making, empowering medical professionals to deliver optimized, patient-centered care.

Doctors will no longer be limited to their own knowledge and can use AI doctors to supplement their diagnoses. The majority of new knowledge still comes from humans and so far, AI can only process given knowledge and needs heavy training to be able to determine what humans want. 

Can AI Doctors Outperform Doctors?

Just how good is an AI doctor's medical diagnosis and treatment now? It turns out in a study done on the popular forum Reddit, an AI Doctor powered by ChatGPT was given the same medical questions from users as verified medical professionals and the answers given by the AI Doctor were vastly preferred over the ones given by actual medical professionals.

The takeaways

  • AI Doctors always give specific answers with actionable solutions
  • The users preferred the AI Doctor’s responses because they sounded more sincere 
  • In the study, the AI Doctor never made up information, which is not uncommon for AI to do when faced with something it does not know

It is important to remember that just because users preferred the answers of the AI Chatbot does not mean they are more sound medical advice. The AI chatbot scours everything online to look for the best answer in seconds, while medical professionals are likely writing off the top of their heads when responding to forums, which is not the same as giving medical advice.

As AI Doctors are trained more on sound medical advice, their quality will greatly improve as most AI Doctors still use information that may not be completely reliable. You can start chatting with an online AI Doctor that is trained by medical professionals and see what answers you get here.
 

ai vs doctor diagnosis

Are People ready to trust AI Doctors?

One of the biggest factors determining if people would trust online AI Doctors is their perceived knowledge of them and their roles. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, research showed strong reluctance across procedures ranging from skin cancer screening to pacemaker implant surgery.

The AI Doctor greatly outperformed the human medical professional in diagnosing but when it came to personal diagnosis, patients much prefer being looked at by a human doctor. This is similar to autonomous driving cars, while they have been shown in different cases to be a safe solution, it still sounds like a great idea for everyone else.

People hesitate when it is their own livelihood on the line and want a responsible human to look over their specific case and give them a personalized diagnosis. It is natural that people do not like being part of a statistic, but are seen as an individual.

Differences Between AI Doctors and Medical Professionals

Diagnosing a medical condition is no easy task. It requires a deep understanding of symptoms, medical knowledge, and the ability to consider various contextual factors. While both AI doctors and human medical professionals can perform a diagnosis, there are significant differences in their methodology and information sources that can sometimes lead them to different conclusions.

AI Doctors, with their data-driven algorithms and machine learning capabilities, do a great job in processing vast amounts of medical information. While medical professionals also have access to the same electronic health records, medical literature, and patient data, AI doctors can quickly detect patterns that are not easily visible to humans.

This computational advantage lets AI doctors consider a broader range of potential diagnoses and generate hypotheses quickly. They have the ability to access the most up-to-date medical research and guidelines, ensuring that their diagnostic recommendations are based on the latest evidence. AI Doctors are perfect for getting quick answers to specific questions when all data is available.

On the other hand, human medical professionals have real clinical experience, intuition, and empathy. They possess a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances of individual humans, enabling them to integrate multiple sources of information and experience that data analysis cannot quantify.

Through face-to-face interactions, physicians can gather comprehensive patient histories, observe nonverbal cues, and establish rapport, all of which contribute to a holistic understanding of the patient's condition.

Human doctors also possess the ability to exercise judgment and adapt their diagnostic approach based on the specific needs and preferences of individual patients. There are lots of cultural, socioeconomic, and psychological factors that are slowly being factored into the medical process but are not quantified yet for AI to use.

This important context is what gives medical professionals the biggest edge over AI doctors who can only use recorded data.  No two humans are alike, so given that AI Doctors can provide great general information and insight, only humans can truly understand humans. 

Time is one of the most important factors in a diagnosis. While an AI doctor can almost instantly deliver a response, it cannot sit in the room with you and ask more detailed follow-up questions, yet.

If doctors could, they would love to spend hours learning about your every habit and medical history but the reality is that they have many patients to attend to and their own life to live. When AI doctors and medical professionals work hand in hand, they will complete each other's weak points and create a better healthcare system.

Could an AI Doctor Predict Your Death?

Would you trust an AI Doctor in predicting your death? A recent study has shown that an AI doctor named NYUTron outperformed the standard models on all five counts, correctly identifying 85% of patients who would die in the hospital and 80% of those who were readmitted, compared to 78% and 75% for the traditional models, respectively. It also correctly estimated 79% of patients’ stay lengths, compared to 68% for the standard model.

When it comes to cold hard data, AI Doctors really outperform, raising some interesting ethical questions. Could patients get better answers that their doctor may not be willing to share due to ethical reasons? 

Developers are trying to put ethical thresholds on AI to prevent it from being used for evil but no tool has morals. Doctors are held to the highest standards in ethics and take an oath to do what is in the best interest of health. 

AI Doctors do what they are programmed for, most of the time, and should not be expected to understand ethics like a human.

ai doctor diagnosis

The Future of AI Doctors and AI Health Assistants

One of the key advantages of AI Doctors is their potential to bring medical expertise to everyone who doesn't have access to traditional healthcare facilities. Through telemedicine platforms, patients can access AI doctors remotely, seek medical advice, and receive nonprofessional diagnoses.

This breakthrough, while not perfect, enables individuals, particularly those in underserved or remote areas, to bridge geographical barriers and access healthcare resources in a timely manner.

Platforms like Docus.ai are already connecting people with online AI doctors and remote medical professionals for consultation.  AI doctors can alleviate the burden on healthcare systems by handling routine inquiries and minor ailments, freeing up human doctors' time to focus on complex cases and specialized care.

Despite the breakthrough, it is important to acknowledge the limitations of AI Doctors. While they excel in data analysis and evidence-based decision-making, these systems lack the human touch, empathy, and intuition from face-to-face interactions between patients and medical professionals. AI doctors should be perceived as valuable tools that complement rather than replace human doctors.

By integrating AI doctors into the healthcare ecosystem, we can leverage their strengths to improve diagnosis and treatment and address the growing challenges faced by healthcare systems worldwide.

Conclusion

In summary, AI doctors and human medical professionals approach diagnosis with different strengths and limitations. AI Doctors excel in processing vast amounts of data, analyzing patterns, and providing evidence-based recommendations.

They are faster, have larger data sets to quickly sift through, and are more accessible to the global community.

On the other hand, human doctors bring their clinical experience, intuition, and holistic understanding of patients to the diagnostic process. Their ability to consider contextual factors and engage in face-to-face interactions allows for a more comprehensive and personalized approach.

Combining the strengths of AI doctors and human medical professionals hand in hand is what will build a trustworthy healthcare system that is quick, efficient, effective, and most importantly, accessible.

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