Artificial intelligence could transform healthcare, with potentially huge benefits, but it also runs the risk of creating an inhuman system.
- The first impact of AI is not likely to be replacing doctors, but advice and triage, where there is great need but few solutions.
- This puts AI between doctors and patients – a hugely significant role:
- Done well it could empower patients and make the healthcare system more sustainable;
- But done badly it could be unsafe and take control away from patients and doctors.
- Maximising benefits and minimising risks means engaging patients, disciplined testing in real world conditions, shaping the market, and increasing understanding of the technology.
Artificial intelligence could become part of the front door to healthcare. It could make the health system simpler, more accessible, more responsive, more sustainable, and give patients more control.
But there’s a risk that the public could experience it more as a barrier than an open door, blocking access to care, offering opaque advice and dehumanising healthcare in every sense.
There is currently a window of opportunity to put in place measures that ensure the technology develops into ‘People Powered AI’; supporting care that is simple, gives patients control, is centred around an equal dialogue, is accountable and equitable.