Artificial Intelligence: From Buzzword Into Clinical Routine

Siemens Healthineers, a HIMSS19 participant

Artificial intelligence shows strong promise to help address challenges faced by healthcare globally. Through improving patient outcomes or expanding precision medicine, AI offers the opportunity to manage staff shortages and enable cost-effectiveness.

According to a study conducted by management consulting firm Accenture, the U.S. healthcare economy could potentially save $150 billion by 2026 by tapping AI applications.

As an evolutionary influence in healthcare, AI has the potential to act as a digital companion to physician evaluations, improve routine clinical procedures and advance physician’s agendas by freeing up practitioners to focus on value creating work.

AI’s Healthcare Evolution

Several AI-powered applications are already running in the background rather silently, greatly empowering healthcare staff in their daily tasks. An example includes AI-powered technologies during medical image acquisition. This enables machine scans to adapt to individual patient characteristics more precisely, resulting in data for more efficient image interpretation.

AI solutions must undergo extensive training involving large amounts of curated clinical data, and include a super-computing infrastructure that allows for comprehensive amount of AI experiments per day.

Augmenting Human Intelligence with Digital Companions

Imagine an “augmented” radiologist that receives high-quality pre-analyzed and pre-quantified information and can focus on diagnostic decision making. Searching for abnormalities and quantitative evaluation can be supported by digital companions to save time and repletion.

An “augmented” clinician makes clinical decisions based on AI-powered suggestions through meaningful, case-specific and multi-disciplinary integration of relevant patient health data, while considering clinical pathway guidelines.

These intelligent companions can alert physicians to disease-relevant abnormalities that would potentially have been missed because they were not the focus of the original examination. Thus, sharing work between the doctor and his AI-based companion can lead to more personalized and efficient diagnostics and therapy, in other words to precision medicine.

Road to Success for AI Adoption in Clinical Routine

Domain know-how and deep understanding of clinical workflows are key to bringing AI into the right context and enabling a holistic solution. Entire areas of problem solving need to be addressed, not just single tasks.

In the case of thoracic CT imaging, for example, an automated reading solution is only beneficial if it covers the full reading spectrum. This offers a holistic evaluation of the scanned body region, including heart, lung, aorta and vertebral bodies.

Today’s healthcare environment will require end-to-end AI-powered solutions with proven productivity gains, according to a recent analysis by healthcare technology consulting firm Signify Research.

AI should not reinvent workflows, but improve and accelerate what physicians do every day.

Advancing the Physician Agenda and Application in Radiology

Specialists may view AI as a technology they have to compete against. However, AI should be seen as an invaluable tool in the specialist’s toolbox. By definition, it’s intended to augment or even emulate human intelligence and decision-making, thus contributing to successful problem solving.

Let’s take radiology as an example. AI-powered automated image interpretation could prove to be an indispensable aid to cope with increasing workloads in radiology.

Most experts agree that intelligent algorithms will increasingly find their way into radiological routine over the years.

A probable scenario is therefore that radiologists will need to adapt their methods and ways of thinking – and to work in a far more interdisciplinary way in their clinical and scientific activities.

Thus, AI won’t replace radiologists. It will relieve them of routine tasks and can thereby increase the efficiency and quality of diagnostic imaging processes.

Learn more about AI’s growing role in routine care at Siemens Healthineers. Continue the conversation at Siemens Healthineers booth #3759 at HIMSS19.


Sponsored content. The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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