The Risks and Benefits of AI in Healthcare

May 1, 2023 | Member Providers, Providers

by Ray Foxworth, D.C., FICC • 

President & Founder, ChiroHealthUSA • 

The rise of artificial intelligence is cause for both celebration and concern. Seeing both sides of the digital coin helps healthcare adopt this technology responsibly. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay and is poised to entrench itself as an integral part of modern and future healthcare. Here’s a look at its principal benefits and the ongoing concerns this technology generates.

Real-Time Analytics

AI is always working to aggregate and analyze healthcare data. This vast pool of constantly evolving data can be of immense value to the individual chiropractor and the profession. The more we know, the quicker we can act and perhaps even prevent certain undesirable outcomes based on analysis of past patterns.

Lower Costs for Providers and Patients

AI can save healthcare providers time and money. These savings can be passed along to patients, who themselves stand to save money if properly implemented AI is used to help them book, keep, or cancel appointments.

AI, in tandem with telemedicine, can remove the need for in-person visits, allowing patients to save on travel expenses. Faster AI-aided analysis and treatments mean fewer consultations which further reduces patient costs.

Streamlined Tasks and Administration

AI excels at time-consuming front and back-office tasks. A few examples are performing patient history reviews, studying patient insurance plans, and assisting with practice payment claims and reimbursement. AI can therefore prove to be a valuable “employee” for healthcare businesses, and by doing so, help human staff by reducing workloads and stress.

The Risks and Challenges of AI in Healthcare

Machines do what they’re told within the parameters we program, using the data we feed them. Human fallibility thus becomes a digital risk. For example, the mountain of real-time analyzed data that AI uses to generate algorithms, isn’t always of the highest quality. Garbage In-Garbage Out “GIGO” as the programmers refer to it.

Poor conclusions or sub-standard performances can be fed in as easily as solid and reliable work. This could actually decrease the overall quality of care being provided. AI still has a ways to go toward separating the data that’s worth retaining from what should be discarded.

No Central Governance and Rising Cybercrime

A single AI authority doesn’t exist, meaning there’s a dangerous regulatory gap. Algorithms from multiple sources are free to compete, but also free to swamp healthcare businesses with unregulated and possibly contradictory data. Some FDA oversight exists, but much remains to be done.

Escalating cybercrime leaves AI increasingly vulnerable to digital attack. “Bad guy” AI programs target healthcare businesses with fake emails, chatbots, and more. Companies must implement steps to combat aggressive AI to stay as safe as possible.

Privacy Problems

AI operates in a delicate gray area. By gathering large amounts of data, it teeters between helping patients and violating their privacy. Many dislike the idea of their PHI and PII being shared with healthcare providers other than their own. This makes a collated data set for wider use much harder to assemble, ethically and legally.

The perks and pitfalls of AI are just some of the many technological topics covered by Dr. Jay Greenstein in our free ChiroHealthUSA webinar series. Plug in for a wealth of knowledge on what the latest developments mean for chiropractic’s future.