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AI demonstrates competency as a physician assistant

By Shawn Knight
Feb 12, 2019
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  1. Researchers from the US and China have developed a deep learning system that could one day help doctors diagnose medical ailments.

    As outlined in a paper published on Monday in Nature Medicine (via The New York Times), the AI was more than 90 percent accurate at diagnosing asthma in patients. By comparison, human physicians in the study were 80 to 94 percent accurate in their diagnosis.

    Elsewhere, the software was able to accurately diagnose gastrointestinal disease 87 percent of the time versus physicians’ accuracy of 82 percent to 90 percent.

    The study was led by Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of ophthalmic genetics at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Zhang and his colleagues trained their system using electronic medical records of nearly 600,000 patients at the Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center in southern China.

    Gathering health care data from China to train deep learning systems is much easier than doing so in the US. Dr. George Shih, associate professor of clinical radiology at Weill Cornell Medical Center, said you’d have to collect from multiple locations in the US to get the same amount of data. “The equipment is never the same. You have to make sure the data is anonymized. Even if you get permission, it is a massive amount of work.”

    It’ll be a while still before AI is advising your doctor. Ben Shickel, a researcher at the University of Florida who specializes in the use of deep learning for health care, noted that medicine is a slow-moving field. “No one is just going to deploy one of these techniques without rigorous testing that shows exactly what is going on.”

    Lead image courtesy Panchenko Vladimir via Shutterstock. Second photo via metamorworks via Shutterstock.

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  2. Danster1616

    Danster1616 TS Enthusiast Posts: 35

    AI is the future. If I were you I would look into it and try to be a developer in it!!
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,257   +3,672

    Interesting .... IBM's platform WATSON has been doing this for just over 10 years with similar results. It also is able to read some 18,000 published articles a day and maintains an up to the minute knowledge for most practical medical subjects as well as an advanced DB of cancer related illnesses. The only problem is that it resides on large mainframes so you must have internet access to get to it as well as pay a fee (unknown amount). It's accuracy is so good that the AMA has publicly fretted about the amount of MD's that lack diagnostic skills .... one of the mainstay's of medicine.
  4. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,827   +2,177

    I wonder if WATSON is able to discern papers that contain quality research from those that do not.

    Aside from that, the one other advantage it has besides being able to digest so much research is the lack of an ego!

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