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How artificial intelligence will change medical practice

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology designed to develop systems that can learn, reason, and interact with the environment and humans. With its ability to offer innovative and effective solutions, AI has the potential to revolutionize various fields, including medicine.

This is an image generated by an artificial intelligence program that was tasked with envisioning a scenario in which a doctor is aided in their work by AI technology.

Medicine is a field concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, which relies heavily on evidence, data, knowledge, and experience that must be continuously updated and integrated by practitioners. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to assist physicians and researchers in managing and analyzing large amounts of information to identify new correlations and patterns, develop new drugs and therapies, personalize treatments to patients' characteristics, and monitor people's health and well-being.

There are several examples of AI applications in the medical field, including:

  • Assisted Diagnosis: AI can aid physicians in recognizing symptoms, imaging, and clinical signs of a disease by comparing them with a vast database of similar cases and providing suggestions and probabilities of diagnosis. This algorithm can reduce errors, diagnostic time, and costs while improving the quality of care and reducing missed or delayed diagnoses. Although it is unlikely that AI will completely replace human decision-making in diagnosis, the assistance of AI can significantly reduce the workload, especially in imaging.

  • Biomedical Research: AI can assist researchers in discovering new molecules, mechanisms, and therapeutic targets, simulating the effects of drugs on the human body, predicting outcomes of experiments and clinical trials, optimizing treatment protocols and doses, and reducing the need for animal and human testing. This can accelerate the development of new solutions for the most serious and complex diseases.

  • Personalized treatment. AI can help physicians tailor treatments to patients' specific genetic, metabolic, immunological, and environmental characteristics. This approach can identify health risk and protective factors, prevent complications, and reduce disease recurrence. In turn, this can increase the effectiveness and safety of treatment and improve patients' quality of life.

  • Telemedicine. AI can help physicians provide remote consultations, diagnoses, and prescriptions via mobile devices or online platforms. It can also monitor patients' health and well-being through sensors or smart apps and intervene in case of emergency or need. This can expand access to care and reduce inequalities, particularly in areas where healthcare resources are scarce or inaccessible.

In the medical field, AI is proving to be an increasingly popular and valuable tool for improving patient care and data analysis. Its ability to learn and interact with the environment and humans can provide innovative and effective solutions in various fields, including medicine. AI can help physicians manage and analyze large amounts of information to discover new correlations and patterns, develop new drugs and therapies, tailor treatments to patients' characteristics, and monitor people's health and well-being.

However, it is important to note that the development and testing of these technologies can take time and face specific challenges. AI applications in medicine must also be accompanied by proper human guidance and oversight. Experienced health professionals cannot be replaced by AI, but these tools can easily supplement and improve the quality and accessibility of treatment for those in need.

Patients may also be hesitant to entrust their health to AI systems, and may prefer the personal touch of human doctors. Trust and confidence in the technology will need to be built over time through effective and safe treatment outcomes. It may take a while for patients to fully trust AI-directed care, but with time and proper demonstration of capabilities, AI will be able to greatly reduce the workload for physicians, especially in the area of imaging.

Overall, AI has the potential to transform the medical field by accelerating the development of new solutions for the most serious and complex diseases, improving patient outcomes, and expanding access to care. As this technology continues to develop, it is important for medical professionals to remain up-to-date and informed on the latest advancements and applications of AI in medicine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Marco Matteoli is a medical doctor specializing in diagnostic imaging and a publicist journalist. He graduated in 2020 in International Cooperation and Development from the University of Rome "Sapienza." He has been a volunteer medical officer in the Italian Red Cross military corps since 2013.



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