One specific example of AI in healthcare is the development of Google Health in recent years. While the initial version of Google Health was discontinued in 2012, a new branch was reorganized in 2021 with the goal of improving “access to high-quality, equitable healthcare across the globe” (Corrado) and the ability to offer “clinicians a longitudinal view of patient records and the ability to quickly search through those records using a single secure tool” (Landi). While Google Health has many benefits for physicians and their patients, there are also many concerns that come with introducing advanced technology into sensitive spaces.
Google Health is a great resource for health care providers to pull up medical documents, view test results, and send prescriptions to pharmacies quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, Google Health has programs such as ARDA, or Automated Retinal Disease Assessment, which uses AI to detect ophthalmological issues such as diabetic retinopathy. This complication of diabetes can cause blindness if left untreated, so rapid detection is essential. Google Health also has programs that can measure heart and respiratory rates with a smartphone camera, which is “now available on over 100 models of Android devices, as well as iOS devices.” (Corrado) Recently, Google Health developments have also introduced that smartphone microphones may be able to detect heart or respiratory issues such as heart murmurs or heart valve disorders in the near future. While doctors use stethoscopes as routine parts of every medical exam, the technology in smartphone microphones could pick up abnormalities in heart rates or breathing patterns without having to go to a doctor’s office.
However, while there are many benefits to utilizing AI in medicine, there are several drawbacks. For example, data leaks are a serious concern. If AI has access to millions of people’s sensitive medical histories worldwide it would be devastating if that data somehow got hacked into or leaked. Furthermore, AI can still be inaccurate when reporting information, so if people take the information AI gives them at face value, it could lead to many misdiagnoses or incorrect information being given to patients. Finally, AI will lead to a significant loss in jobs. As reported by the 2018 World Economic Forum, “ AI [will] create a net sum of 58 million jobs by 2022…[but] 75 million jobs will be displaced or destroyed by AI by the same year.” (“Pros & Cons of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine – College of Computing & Informatics”) This net loss of 17 million jobs is detrimental to people working these jobs and their families.
To conclude AI in healthcare settings is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it will be revolutionary in providing at-home healthcare solutions and disease detection, while at the same time bringing severe job loss and security threats. However, people today can look forward to a more modern approach to everyday healthcare practices and advancements in how we detect health problems.
Corrado, Greg. “The Check Up: our latest health AI developments.” The Keyword, 24 March 2022, https://www.blog.google/technology/health/check-up-ai-developments-2022/. Accessed 12 May 2022.
Landi, Heather. “ViVE 2022: Google Health expands AI capabilities of Care Studio to organize patient data.” Fierce Healthcare, 8 March 2022, https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/health-tech/vive-2022-google-health-expands-ai-capabilities-care-studio-organize-patient-data. Accessed 12 May 2022.
“Pros & Cons of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine – College of Computing & Informatics.” Drexel University, 21 July 2021, https://drexel.edu/cci/stories/artificial-intelligence-in-medicine-pros-and-cons/. Accessed 12 May 2022.