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How AI can tackle inefficiencies plaguing healthcare systems

With pressure increasing on healthcare systems globally and many countries still struggling to clear the backlog from the pandemic, Microsoft believes AI holds the key to addressing both administrative burdens and improving the clinician-patient experience.

A new study from the company of 13,500 patients across 11 countries, including 2,000 from the UK, found patients are prepared to let AI handle some of their clinicians’ work to free up more interpersonal time, seeing it as a natural progression of existing digitalization efforts.

Currently, two in five (39%) UK respondents are concerned that their doctor does not give them their full attention during treatment, thanks to the computer-based administrative work that goes hand-in-hand with consultations.

AI is a gamechanger for healthcare
From the patient’s point of view, artificial intelligence is simply an extension of existing systems. Half of the UK participants in Microsoft’s study already have access to private or health insurance-provided online platforms where documents and prescriptions are shared.

For the clinician, an injection of AI represents a considerable time saving – the extra hours typically put in by a doctor to tackle medical documentation have fuelled widespread job dissatisfaction and burnout.

Dr Simon Wallace, Chief Clinical Information Office at Microsoft Health and Life Sciences UK, highlighted the significant effect that AI could have on patient care: “The role of digital technology is to support the clinician to return to the art of practicing medicine and give back time both for patients and their personal well-being.”

Mr Markus Vogel, Chief Medical Information Officer for Microsoft, commented on AI’s role in personalizing healthcare for patients: “With automated processes and patient-driven chatbots providing assistance, AI becomes a catalyst for enhanced participation, language translation and personalized treatment modalities.”

With its continued emphasis on safe and responsible AI, Microsoft is calling for education, training, and communication about the benefits, impact, and even risks of artificial intelligence in healthcare. It has also become clear that international and multi-sector collaboration play an important role in ensuring that communities are served.

Looking forward, it’s clear that time-saving technologies like artificial intelligence and automation play a pivotal part in how nations address some of the most pressing social issues, and Microsoft’s findings regarding public sentiment surrounding the technology spell out a pretty positive outlook.

As for the challenges, industry experts have expressed concerns that practitioners may not be so keen to adapt to yet another new technology.

However, speaking about the clinician-led nature of NHS England, National Digital Primary Care Nurse Lead Helen Crowther affirmed: “If you give us a new product and tell us that it’s going to transform and change our lives for ourselves, colleagues, and patients, we’re more than happy to adapt to it.”

As healthcare and artificial intelligence become increasingly entwined, Crowther noted the importance of involving nurses at all levels of digital transformation in order to ensure that they are clinically focused from concept.

This sentiment aligns with the broader feeling that collaboration in all aspects of technology can only be beneficial, both for the customer and for competition. TechRadar

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