Facing increasingly overworked doctors and labyrinthine insurance systems, hospitals are searching for a lifeline in AI systems that promises to ease hard diagnoses and treatment decisions. Reality check: The data underpinning the very first systems is often spotty, volatile and completely lacking in critical context, leading to a poor early record in the field.
The big picture: Basic clinical decision support (CDS) systems have been around for decades, but a skepticism of technology leads many doctors to ignore or override them. Now, experts say a nascent generation of CDS — infused with AI in academic labs and startups — may reduce the estimated 40,000–80,000 deaths a year that result from medical errors. The grand vision: Researchers hope AI programs can point doctors toward the best medications, lab tests or treatment plans based on minute patterns discovered in huge numbers of patients’ past experiences.
Author: Kaveh Waddell