What are the Problems of Artificial Intelligence in Medical Sector?

By CIOReview | Friday, September 13, 2019

The physicians providing their patients with artificial intelligence predictions must make sure that the patients are thoroughly educated about the various pros and cons of the forecast. AI promotes the welfare of patients, but doctors must also recognize its risks and then proceed with caution.

FREMONT, CA: The usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medicine is creating great enthusiasm and hope for the advancement of treatment in the future. For example, scientists are using machine learning to develop a tool that will help them make decisions for cancer treatment. They hope that the computers will be able to analyze radiological images and recognize the cancerous tumors that will respond to chemotherapy and the ones which will not.

Having said this, the use of AI in the medical sector can also raise many legal and ethical challenges. The concerns are majorly about discrimination, physician-patient relationship, privacy, and psychological harm.

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Potential for Discrimination

AI analyses a large amount of data to distinguish the patterns, which are used to predict the possibilities of future occurrences. In the case of the medical industry, data sets will not only come from electronic health records and health insurance claims but also from various surprising sources. AI can draw this information about an individual's health from income data, purchasing documents, and even social media.

Doctors have already started using AI for predicting numerous medical conditions, some of these include stroke, cognitive decline, heart disease, diabetes, and even suicide. This kind of predictive analysis of AI raises critical ethical concerns in the healthcare sector.

The predictions that are generated by AI will be included in the electronic health records, which means everybody with access to this can see it.

Such disclosures of data can lead to discrimination, especially in the workplace. For instance, employers who want their employees to be healthy and productive when it sees potential employees with weak health predictions will not even consider them. Moreover, lenders and life insurers may also make adverse decisions based on AI predictions.

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Lack of Protection

AI can also lead to psychological harm because people may get traumatized when they learn that they are most likely to suffer from some disease later in their life. In addition to this, the relationship between the patient and the doctor also gets hampered. AI almost diminishes the role of a doctor because it is the one to predict, diagnose, and suggest the treatment, a doctor follows the instructions. There will be no say of the doctors, and it is not sure how the patients will feel about it.

Many factors can make the predictions of AI far from perfect, and this is what makes it worse. If AI uses medical records that are faulty to make predictions, then a patient can unnecessarily suffer from discrimination or psychological harm when they are not at the risk of the predicted disease.