The A.I. Revolution in Medicine What's next for the role of technology in healthcare?

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and deep machine learning are finding new and inventive ways to impact the world of medicine and healthcare. In this Deep Dive, four experts involved in using A.I. discuss advancements the technology has made in fields like radiology, diagnostics, surgery planning, and more. Through thoughtful panel discussions and engaging audience interaction, the event focused on how (and if) these new technologies will create a revolution in the evolving world of medicine.

The all-woman panel discussed the advancement of artificial intelligence in their respective fields

Dr. Katherine Andriole, the most vocal panelist of the event, serves as director of research strategy and operations at Massachusetts General Hospital. She shares that the use of A.I. in medicine is absolutely beneficial to the efficiency of doctors and healthcare as a whole.

"A.I. is making healthcare more efficient. Let the humans do the cognitive things only we can do, let A.I. handle automated tasks a computer can do. It saves time and lives."

A.I. has already found its way into hospitals here in Boston. At both Massachusetts General and Brigham and Woman's Hospitals, A.I. is being used in diagnostics, identifying strokes, cancer treatments, and tracking tumor developments. Andriole says machine learning has grown significantly over the years, and that the more time medical professionals spend teaching the machines, the greater the reward will be.

Dr. Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer (left) and Dr. Katherine Andriole (right) answer questions from audience members after the event

One piece of technology that captivated the audience came from MIT professor and recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award, Dr. Dina Katabi. Katabi's work with A.I. involves sensors that monitor patients using electromagnetic and physiological waves. The technology is currently being marketed towards home use in order to help older and disabled people who live alone in the case of a medical emergency.

Katabi's technology 'Emerald" uses signals much like Wifi to track the heart rate, breathing rate, and motion of people nearby. This tool can be significant for people who suffer from Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, and even alzheimer's and depression. Check out the video below from Emerald explaining how the technology works.

Katabi says that much of the costs of healthcare today are for devices that help people with chronic diseases. She believes the use of A.I. can not only help people at home, but can actually end up lowering the costs of chronic healthcare.

However, some attendees were hesitant to jump aboard the A.I. train.

Arvydas Mackevicius, said he came to the panel because his family is heavily involved in the medical community, and wanted to see just how A.I. would impact the field.

Mackevicius said while the technology "seemed like magic", he wouldn't trust A.I. exclusively for his medical care. But, he is excited to see how the A.I. enhances the work of human professionals.

"Focusing on the most cost effective ways and seeing what can give you the best results seems like it opens a lot of dramatic possibilities"
Attendees listen intently to the panel at the sold out event in Quincy Market

Though many in the room, like Mackevicius, were interested in the possibilites of the technology, several people noted their fears for a medical world run by A.I., such as who's to blame when things go wrong, and will that A.I. have the human urgency and creativeness in the case of an emergency?

However, the fears quickly disappeared when the panelists were asked how they believe the role of A.I. and machine learning will develop in healthcare in the next five years.

Audience members discuss their fears and concerns about A.I. in their medical futures

Dr. Tina Kapur, executive director of image guided therapy at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said she is most excited for the impact A.I. will have on patient care.

"Diagnosticians will have the most updated, accurate information minutes before consulting with patients. They don't need to use results from days ago on tumors and diseases that are fast-spreading."

From Left to Right: Moderator Mark Michalski, Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, Katherine Andriole, Tina Kapur, and Dina Katabi

Dr. Andriole, while optimistic, said the tech just isn't where it needs to be. She shared that she expects A.I. to do a better job in personalizing health care to each patient and that data driven medicine will not only help the patient, but doctors as well. One audience member asked whether she believes A.I. will eventually replace doctors all together. Dr. Andriole simply said:

"Ask me again in 10 years"


Nebe Betre

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