Artificial intelligence is one of the boons of the 21st century. It is shaping the world as we know it. In the future, it will have even more impact. Leveraging it, medical education the way it is taught can be revolutionized.
The use of artificial intelligence is on track to improve medical accessibility to millions of patients globally. It can reduce medical errors, medical negligence, and provide relief to thousands of overworked doctors in the world. For that, doctors need to be well-versed in AI and know how to use it in medical science.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Medical Education
Here are some ways medical education can benefit from AI:
1. As a Data Aggregator
Most medical students are incredibly overworked. AI can help them by acting as a data aggregator by:
- Eliminating rote learning
- Promoting application-based learning
- Promoting a collaboration-based environment
- Promote critical reasoning skills
- Helping students focus on the essentials of knowledge
2. Clinical Decision Making
With the vast amount of patient data available online, the world is moving towards personalized medicine. In the near future, redundant medical tests, that are common for everyone, will be replaced with tests that are tailor-made for an individual. It will provide better patient care and reduce costs. AI is central to this concept, and students need to know it, to be able to use it. It will help in:
- Conducting a thorough check of the individual’s blood profile and past diseases, if any
- Generating genomic profile, that is, an analysis of patient’s genes
- Clinical decision making
- Predicting the medicines that the patient should use, based on height, weight, age, sex, and other factors
- Providing high accuracy of treatment
- Ensuring high efficiency and lower costs of treatment
3. Help Physicians Develop Empathy
Physicians are mostly overworked wherever you go. In India itself, there is a current deficit of 6 million doctors and 2 million nurses. As such, doctors cannot really be expected to empathize with patients, even as students. Millions of other lives are dependent on them.
AI can help mold budding physicians from a young age by:
- Freeing up plenty of their time
- Helping them devote more hours to patients
- Helping improve their communication skills
- Helping them take time to listen and empathize with the patient by fully listening to the patient, and learning about the signs and symptoms
4. Introducing Robotic Surgery Courses
The world’s first telerobotic surgery was performed in India in 2018. The doctors using these advanced technologies never had the opportunity to study them in medical education.
However, the world is undergoing a shift in how medicine is practiced. Robotic and tele-robotic surgery is widely prevalent now and in the future. If students are taught such revolutionary techniques during college, they will come out with a very well-equipped doctor.
Benefits of such courses are:
- Physicians can perform surgery from anywhere in the world
- Physical barrier to medical treatment or surgery can be eliminated
- Millions of lives can be saved
- Medical accessibility issues can be solved, especially in a country like India
- Future physicians will learn about prevalent technique and be ready for challenges
5. Learn the Importance of Preventive Care
Medical education is primarily based on reactive treatment. It still focuses almost entirely on what to do after you have a disease.
But what if you, as a doctor, could prevent diseases from happening at all?
And this is where Artificial Intelligence comes into the picture.
With the advances in technology, there has been a rise in activity trackers like Fitbit. Leveraging the power of these, you could instantly connect to your patients and monitor them real-time. And you could identify dispositions towards chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity from a mile away. This activity alone can save millions of dollars. Thus, getting to study specialized courses aimed at taking advantage of such technology is very crucial.
6. Centralize Data
Rather than making a patient run from department to department, the world is now moving towards value-based care model.
Here, the patient is the most important part of the treatment, and not the overall cost incurred.
Teaching students how to use Data Science and AI to centralize patient information onto a common platform is something that is of utmost need.
AI can help in this context by:
- Streamlining patient flow through hospital departments
- Bringing information about medical test results, diagnostic reports, previous diseases or surgeries, if any, on to the common platform for any physician to readily access
- Readily providing information regarding the issues plaguing patient
- Other pertinent details, such as the medicine(s) the patient is taking
All these are crucial information that can be collated and analyzed immediately through the power of AI.
Exposing the physicians of tomorrow to such technology only helps to hone their skills. Thereby, they get ready for the real world, and the technologies that they will get exposed to. Inclusion of these topics during medical education is the best way to equip them with technological skills that will ultimately shape their future.