Time is important. No matter the type of work, lifestyle or family responsibilities involved, everyone wants to spend their time in a productive and enjoyable manner. Time spent at a doctor’s office can sometimes feel like being sucked into a black hole.
Often the diagnosis can be difficult to pinpoint or be outright wrong, through no fault of the doctor. It is simply because it is difficult for the doctor to sift through all the medical literature and research available, especially if the patient’s symptoms can be matched to many conditions.
As a result of this amount of time spent waiting to see a physician, being examined and tested, coming in for more tests and finally waiting on the results and possible diagnosis, the patient has essentially spent many hours and a good amount of money searching for medical answers. And what about the physician?
He, too, has spent a good amount of time on just the one patient in pursuit of trying to discover the answer to the patient’s medical problem. Because of the sheer amount of new research and medical findings that is constantly being disseminated, having one doctor sift through everything is a woefully inefficient process.
Lewis Levy, the Chief Medical Officer of Teladoc, recently wrote an article published in America’s Benefit Specialist about the benefits of using AI in conjunction with human efforts to provide answers and solutions from medical data that is constantly being introduced.
Levy presented information about a study that demonstrated that it would take a physician more than 24 hours a day to stay current with the latest medical research. It would also take an average of 17 years for any new research or medical findings to be actively used in practice.
Augmented intelligence is the result of using AI in combination with human efforts to solve problems. Levy opined that AI has the potential to read 200 million documents every three seconds on average.
According to Levy, that speed has the ability to ensure that every clinical trial and every treatment can be made available to all. When augmented intelligence is used with virtual-care platforms, the results are that medical opinions and new treatment options are instantly available as choices. This integrated approach also grants open access to highly-qualified physicians that formerly would be constrained by geography and time.
Levy wrote that nearly a third of the money spent on healthcare is wasted, primarily because of incorrect diagnoses that promote unnecessary treatments, which results in lost dollars on medicines, specialists, laboratory work and more doctor visits.
With augmented intelligence, virtual healthcare has no limits on access to resources to help direct informed outcomes. AI can process information quickly from a patient’s electronic medical records and analyze this information with Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. Once the information is collected and collated, humans can then interpret the results.
The next step in realizing the benefits of augmented intelligence is for benefits professionals and underwriters to understand just how best to implement the available tools for their virtual care platforms.
Levy advised that quality is key and that it is paramount that only the best data sources and the most qualified professionals be used for cognitive computing. Choosing the best minds in the medical fields is important, and making the end virtual care platforms personal and relevant to the doctors and the patients is the goal.
Levy concluded with a reminder that the purpose of integrating augmented intelligence with virtual-care platforms is to provide helpful and efficient medical services to both physicians and patients. With knowledge comes power, and when everyone is informed, everyone wins.