AI in Healthcare: A Look at Ethics, Efficiency, and Efficacy

    Posted by Delta Letigio

    Just a month ago, more than 100 California Nurses Association members (CNA) members marched the streets of San Francisco, protesting and expressing their deep distrust of using “untested, unregulated, and profit-driven” artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare systems.

    Holding up their “Trust Nurses, Not AI” signs, CNA members argue that AI cannot fully replace healthcare providers' clinical judgment and that a "human-still-in-the-loop" approach is crucial to patient safety.

    But does adopting AI automatically mean sidelining human expertise? Not necessarily. When implemented strategically, AI can complement healthcare providers, enhancing their capabilities rather than replacing them.

    This synergy between AI and human skills is where healthcare solutions like IMS come into play. Learn how AI-powered features help healthcare professionals by supporting their practice operations and improving patient care. Or better yet, see it all in action with a personalized, expert-led IMS demo!

    Schedule a FREE IMS Demo Today

    Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: What Does That Mean?


    The American Medical Association (AMA) defines AI as “the ability of computers to perform tasks that are typically associated with a rational human being—a quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.”

    AI-powered healthcare tools are driven by advanced algorithms that command computers to perform calculations, solve problems, and analyze complex medical data. Healthcare AI’s primary aim is to enhance healthcare providers’ ability to understand and utilize large amounts of data. As a result, practices like yours see significant improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes.

    The Ethical Concerns of Using AI in Health Systems


    While the latest AI technology offers promising solutions, the integration of AI in the healthcare industry also raises several ethical concerns. Here are the top ethical considerations identified by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST):

    Safety and Liability

    Despite AI’s advanced capabilities, it’s still possible for AI systems to generate inaccurate or completely made-up outputs. These AI hallucinations can have significant consequences that impact a patient’s health and safety.

    When AI algorithms provide incorrect diagnoses or treatment recommendations, who is responsible?

    The question of liability becomes complex because it’s often unclear whether responsibility lies with the healthcare provider, the AI developer, or the healthcare institution.

    Patient Privacy

    Healthcare AI systems require access to vast amounts of protected health information (PHI) to function effectively, so it’s not surprising that people are getting increasingly concerned about how patient data is collected, stored, and used.

    As AI systems collect and process more data, the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access increases. Any misuse or breach of data can lead to loss of patient trust, potential harm to individuals, and significant legal and ethical ramifications.

    Informed Consent

    Patients have the right to know if their healthcare provider uses AI in their care, diagnosis, or treatment and to opt out if they’re uncomfortable with it. This means healthcare providers must clearly inform their patients about the role AI plays in clinical operations and patient care.

    Data Ownership

    An often overlooked question about using AI technology in healthcare is, “Who owns the data processed by AI systems?”

    Patients naturally assume that their PHI remains under their control, but the use of AI often requires sharing this data with third-party vendors, researchers, and other entities. This can lead to conflicts over who owns the data, how it can be used, and whether patients are adequately informed and consenting to these uses.

    Data Bias and Fairness

    AI systems rely on data to learn, make decisions, and generate insights. This means that if an AI system learns from biased data, it could perpetuate and even exacerbate existing healthcare disparities.

    For example, if AI algorithms train on data that is not representative of diverse patient populations, they may produce skewed results that favor certain groups over others.

    Transparency and Accountability

    To maintain trust and ensure responsible data use, healthcare providers must understand how AI systems reach conclusions and recommendations. Unfortunately, these decision-making processes are often confidential.

    This "black box" nature of AI can make it difficult for providers and patients to rely on AI-generated advice, especially when critical health decisions are at stake.

    How Using AI in Healthcare Enhances Efficiency and Efficacy


    Despite the complexities and potential pitfalls of AI use in healthcare, artificial intelligence offers a multitude of opportunities to help you optimize your operations and deliver higher-quality patient care.

    Here are the top ways AI technology can benefit your practice and pave the way for more efficient, effective, and patient-centered care:

    Streamlining Administrative Tasks

    One way AI is revolutionizing healthcare is by leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline routine tasks such as scheduling, billing, and data entry, reducing the administrative burden on clinic staff.

    But helping out with basic tasks isn’t all AI can do. Award-winning healthcare software, IMS, now features an AI-powered transcription service that automatically generates clinical notes while you have a real-time conversation with your patient. It transcribes the entire conversation, summarizes key points, and categorizes the data based on your preferred visit note format. By automatically documenting every patient encounter, IMS allows you to focus less on paperwork and more on your patients.

    Enhancing Diagnostic Accuracy

    AI algorithms can analyze medical images with a speed, precision, and consistency that surpasses human capabilities. Unlike humans, their accuracy and performance aren’t affected by stress, fatigue, or preferences. This means that AI-powered tools can assist healthcare providers like you in making more accurate and timely diagnoses.

    Zio by iRhythm, for example, is a wearable heart monitor that continuously records a patient’s cardiac activity for up to 14 days. It uses its deep-learning AI technology to analyze the data and provide high-quality, actionable findings. When seamlessly integrated into a comprehensive practice management system, you can view this data on your EHR platform and use it to create a personalized treatment plan.

    Optimizing Care Team Coordination

    AI-powered platforms allow you to seamlessly communicate and share information with other healthcare providers. This helps practice shift toward value-based care while enhancing workflow efficiency.

    An example of such AI-powered technology is Clinii, a web and mobile platform designed to streamline care management. Clinii can integrate and analyze data from various sources and provide a comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history, current treatments, and care plans.

    Neatly integrated into IMS, Clinii allows you to monitor your patient’s health remotely, conveniently access your chronic care management data, and confidently make informed decisions using data-driven insights.

    Read More: From Cost Savings to Better Outcomes: Why Care Providers Should Embrace AI

    Harness the Full Power of Healthcare AI with IMS


    Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, but its true potential can only be unleashed when paired with the right tools and technology.

    Meditab’s flagship software, IMS, is a leading healthcare solution that can help you seamlessly and securely leverage AI to enhance every aspect of your practice. From automating tedious administrative tasks to streamlining workflows, IMS ensures that adopting AI in your practice is both safe and effective.

    Embrace the healthcare tech revolution with IMS and experience the full benefits of AI-driven innovation.

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