Is AI a threat or benefit to health workers?

Caroline O’Neill | CMAJ | May 2, 2017

AI will make health professionals more effective, say industry experts.

It could revolutionize health care by speeding up referral times, performing menial tasks and giving patients access to their health data, but will artificial intelligence (AI) also take jobs from frontline workers?

The answer was a resounding “No” from the five private-sector leaders on a panel during the recent 2017 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health Symposium.

“AI is about machines making people more effective,” said Michael Monteith, the CEO of ThoughtWire, which is introducing smart machines into hospitals.

The panelists explained that AI could, for example, reduce the number of interruptions a nurse endures during a shift, help with diagnosis, and handle mundane tasks such as scheduling and tracking the number of available beds, which they argued would actually give medical professionals more time with patients.

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