Improving healthcare delivery with Artificial Intelligence (PDF)

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Medicine increasingly needs expert systems. With the exponential growth of medical knowledge, the gulf between what physicians should know and would like to know and what they could realistically retain and apply is widening and threatening their effectiveness. The need to cope with the exigencies of changing health management fiscal priorities, that of balancing improved patient care with cost effective management practices, and the need for physicians to be able to access accurate, timely, and current information and evidence-based, peer-approved treatment guidelines are driving innovations in the applications of intelligent computer programs in Medicine. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIM), whose original goal was to harness the power of computers to assist in medical diagnosis and therapy, is now developing embeddable general purpose, problem-solving shells that not only add layers of intelligence to larger clinical decision systems, but also have significant potential non-medical applications.

This article reviews developments in AI research and their potential applications in Medicine. It also discusses the challenges posed by the confluence of AI and Medicine and possible ways forward. Some of the issues explored include coping with medicine’s intricate and dynamic nature and managing its extensive knowledge base, negative stereotypes of expert systems, discovering and modeling the diagnostic process, problems with user acceptance, and the lack of infrastructure for biomedical computing and communications.