a16z Podcast | Putting AI in Medicine, in Practice | Summary and Q&A

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January 2, 2019
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a16z Podcast | Putting AI in Medicine, in Practice

TL;DR

Using AI in medicine has practical applications in optimizing scheduling, improving diagnostics, and enhancing patient outcomes.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What were early examples of AI in medicine?

In the 1960s and 70s, AI in medicine involved synthetic brains that used verbal descriptions to generate diagnoses. Expert systems like the Meissen system from 1978 outperformed doctors in predicting pathology results.

Q: What are the challenges in deploying AI in medicine?

Challenges include convenient deployment to physicians, financial models for reimbursement, and overcoming the incentives for misdiagnosis in fee-for-service systems. Fee-for-value models, where accuracy is rewarded, may be more favorable for AI adoption.

Q: How can AI substitute for or complement what doctors do?

AI can substitute for doctors in tasks like radiology, where it can analyze images and make diagnoses. AI can also complement doctors by analyzing wearable data that doctors cannot interpret, providing additional insights and improving outcomes.

Q: What are the challenges in AI adoption for continuous monitoring?

Challenges include limited access to EKGs and other diagnostic tools, limited availability of sensors outside hospitals, and the need for engaging mobile design. Incentives for patients to continue using these technologies are also important.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • AI has been used in healthcare since the 1960s to create automated systems that assist in diagnosis and treatment.

  • The challenge is not just the technical accuracy of AI, but also the deployment path, financial models for reimbursement, and incentives for healthcare providers.

  • AI can substitute or complement what doctors already do, such as reading EKGs or analyzing wearable data, but challenges remain in terms of data quality, interpretation, and scalability.

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