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The healthcare industry has evolved dramatically over the years and allowed treating severe diseases, managing chronic conditions, or even performing complex surgeries. However, despite the mentioned benefits, some issues still exist, especially in the context of the United States healthcare system, connected to costs and availability of qualified personnel capable of addressing the population’s needs. In this regard, new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) in combination with various smart devices allows distributing some of the tasks that a nurse or a physician would typically do to the computer. This paper will review the trend of using AI in healthcare, the relevance of the topic, and its integration into a clinical setting.
Choosing the Topic
The topic of artificial intelligence and smart devices in healthcare diagnostics was chosen because of several issues that the US healthcare system is currently experiencing. According to Sensmeier (2017), over 35% of healthcare establishments in the United States plan on applying AI in their daily operations. Firstly, the amount of information published in research journals is overwhelming, making it difficult for a healthcare professional to keep up to date with all novelties, especially in cases of rare conditions. Secondly, the shortage of healthcare personnel that the state is experiencing affects the ability to treat individuals adequately. Finally, similarly to the efforts of telehealth, AI can be used to diagnose people rural or remote locations, providing them with necessary care without a need to go to the nearest hospital. Hence, the topic of AI and smart health devices and its application in healthcare was chosen for this paper because of the relevance and its ability to address the contemporary issues existing within the context of the US medical services.
Although most of the implications connected to AI are positive, another aspect of this technology that is interesting to review exists. If AI algorithms become highly advanced, whether they be able to replace human medical personnel or the two work in collaboration, is the primary concern (Jiang et al., 2017). Arguably, this would help reduce the rapidly increasing costs of healthcare in the United States, which is another issue that has to be addressed by legislators and professionals in the field.
While it is evident that AI and smart health devices have the potential of altering the current approaches to care provision, it is necessary to establish the relevance of this practice for the nursing profession. Sensmeier (2017) argues that nurses should be prepared to use this technology in their practice since it can help them reduce the number of tasks. For instance, smartphones or computers using AI can provide insight into the patient’s length of stay based on the population data. Another aspect of the application is safety since the algorithm can address the issue of hospital-acquired diseases and potential threats.
The technology advancements and innovation are changing many industries, improving the efficiency and accuracy of work. Healthcare is no exception with new approaches to communicating with patients or educating future medical professionals through telemedicine. A study conducted by Al-Ghmabdi (2018) revealed that many physicians use electronic devices or such as smartphones for educational purposes. Some of the participants reported applying them to improve their practice or even patient safety. Hence, devices that are used by people daily can be applied in medicine to address the relevant issues and provide continuous care.
Also, current technology and the amount of data collected from patients allows further improving the process of treatment by analyzing patterns, images, or symptoms, which is enabled by AI. Sensmeier (2017) states that healthcare is the most data-driven industry, and professionals in the field can no longer rely on their cognitive abilities for analyzing information since the abundance of it makes it impossible. Moreover, the author states that the amount of health-related information doubles every two years. This indicates the need for aiding medical personnel by using an innovational technology that can analyze these massive amounts of information.
The previous paragraph describes the purpose of using smart devices with the integration of AI; however, it is necessary to examine how the technology works. Jiang et al. (2017) state that the objective of this technology is in mimicking the cognitive abilities of a human. Therefore, scientists aim to develop an approach that would simplify the process of delivering care by teaching computer algorithms on how to approach analysis, for instance, to execute diagnostics of diseases. The main areas where it can be applied are cancer diagnostics, neurology, and cardiology (Jiang et al., 2017). When examining the aspect of smart devices, the technology available to a broad population, such as a smartphone with an appropriate application can be used to manage chronic conditions. Thus, smart technology and AI can be used by both medical professionals and patients to improve health outcomes.
AI can be beneficial for mitigating the issue of human error since the algorithm relies solely on the data and is not subjected to the adverse impact of emotions, burnout, or perception. Some evidence even suggests that AI is more accurate in interpreting skin photos to identify skin cancer when compared to results shown by dermatologists. In addition, Jiang et al. (2017) argue that a large among of data is collected by healthcare institutions, which can not be interpreted by a human being. AI can assist with this task and make it possible to address the problem. The algorithm can sort through all the relevant new information, and provide medical professionals with simplified insights, mitigating the need to read tens on new articles on a regular basis. Moreover, AI can improve itself by learning from feedback, which subsequently leads to an increased accuracy when diagnosing patients.
Lobby for Support
I would lobby for providing governmental support to projects that integrate AI into healthcare because it can address relevant issues such as staff shortage, an abundance of information, and increasing costs. Ideally, the government should outline the practices and ethical implications of using AI to ensure fair use of this technology, which is another concern for lobbying. Also, I would support the implementation of nationwide programs that use a combination of smart devices and AI for managing chronic conditions because it would help dress the issue of the aging population.
In addition, it is necessary to address the technology literacy of the healthcare personnel by incorporating this element into the learning curriculum. I would lobby for this because the collaboration between a nurse or physician and AI cannot be facilitated without a sufficient understanding of computers and their functions. Contemporary nurses are trained to not only provide support and guidance to patients but also research and implement evidence-based practices within the setting of their work. Arguably, AI can help improve this practice and aid in improving the interventions or locating new approaches to the existing healthcare needs. Sensmeier (2017) argues that AI can be used to develop models that describe population health and can identify potential threats. This can be more useful than applying traditional statistics because AI generates insights based on the data it analyses. Thus, I would also support funds that target education of nurses that want to use AI to improve the care delivery models because it will help improve the current practices. Also, it will empower nurses to use their experience and knowledge in combination with advanced technology.
Integration into Clinical Practice
Several practical implications that should be considered exist, including standardization, data transfer practices, and patient information safety. He, Baxter, Xu, Xu, Zhou, and Zhang, (2019) argue that although AI as a technology has been rapidly developing, its integration in the clinical setting has not yet been discussed or executed by professionals in the field. Since current regulations and policies do not address the outlined issues explicitly, it is unclear how hospitals and medical centers can approach the use of AI in their establishments. Additionally, concerns for patient safety exists since the current level of evidence is not sufficient to make definite conclusions about the practical application of AI.
Smart devices that apply AI can be used in a clinical setting to distribute knowledge and educate medical professionals. This is especially relevant since Huston (2017) states that many countries experience a shortage of nursing professionals. Therefore, decried new technology can be used to partially substitute nursing professionals and provide education for more individuals to enter the workforce. It can be applied in a clinical setting to track patient safety, diagnose, and guide individuals with chronic conditions through the disease management process.
Therefore, AI can be integrated into various technologic devices to promote health and improve the practices applied in a clinical setting. The medical professionals, more specifically, nurses, will be able to use this approach to understand better and interpret patient information. This will help diagnose, develop interventions and treatment plans, and create strategies for addressing health threats of a population. Jiang et al. (2017) state that AI can be applied to interpret notes from physicians or event in combination with medical devices, for instance, by analyzing images or MRI scans. In this way, the efficiency of work for all units would be improved, and patients would receive better treatment because of AI’s assistance to nurses and physicians. While in the lobbying section of this paper, many benefits of this innovation were described, the actual application in a clinical setting requires an in-depth review from legislators and partitions. It is due to the fact that AI is relatively new, and the actual implications of its use should be investigated.
AI and smart devices as a new technology in healthcare have implications for improving the clinical practice by assisting physicians and addressing important healthcare needs of the population. This strategy can be helpful in mitigating the issue of increasing costs and nursing professionals shortage. Currently, it is unclear how to apply this technology in an actual healthcare establishment due to lack of guidance and regulations from the authorities. However, lobbying for this new technology can help improve the accuracy of diagnosis, treatment strategies, and provide care to the populations living in remote areas.
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Al-Ghamdi, S. (2018). Popularity and impact of using smart devices in medicine: Experiences in Saudi Arabia. BMC Public Health, 18(1). Web.
He, J., Baxter, S., Xu, J., Xu, J., Zhou, X., & Zhang, K. (2019). The practical implementation of artificial intelligence technologies in medicine. Nature Medicine, 25(1), 30-36. Web.
Huston, C. (2017). Professional issues in nursing: Challenges and opportunities (4th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Walters Kluwer.
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