In 2010, Dr. Simon Kos joined the Microsoft Worldwide Health team, overseeing the clinical strategy and industry engagement. He has been working in the healthcare IT industry for 15 years and recently presented at the Inform[ED] conference where he discussed artificial intelligence (AI).
MDT had a chance to speak with Kos about AI in today’s world to get a better understanding of how it will affect the future as well as Microsoft’s involvement with it.
Here is what he had to say:
MDT: Can you tell me about AI’s place in today’s healthcare and its future?
Kos: The promise of artificial intelligence in health is huge. The exploration of AI in disease diagnosis and understanding biology are great use cases, but we’re also seeing AI technologies used for things like reducing the burden of technology on physicians, communicating with people seeking health information, and optimizing the business side of healthcare.
MDT: How accurate is AI in healthcare?
Kos: One great example of AI in healthcare is how Microsoft’s research labs around the world are actively using algorithms to formulate best practice protocols. For instance, Microsoft’s “Project Hanover,” is a data-driven approach that uses a branch of artificial intelligence called machine learning to automatically do the difficult legwork of aggregating published evidence on a particular topic, facilitating subsequent meta-analysis research. In this way evidence based care guidelines can be inferred from a complete and up to date corpus of medical literature, which is now increasingly important as we develop our insight on the impact that genomic variance has on diseases like cancer.
MDT: Will AI take away the need for doctors and other healthcare professionals?
Kos: The way Microsoft thinks about AI is by recognizing that people and technologies bring different qualities and skills to the table. Humans have creativity, empathy, [and] emotion. When mixed with powerful AI computation — the ability to reason over large amounts of data and detect patterns that no human can discern — machines can augment and expand human capability in very tangible ways. In health, we expect AI to augment the intelligence, empathy and emotion of health professionals to deliver better results to people.
MDT: Will this technology be able to help those in third world countries who have limited access to healthcare?
Kos: Access to quality, affordable healthcare is one of the most pressing issues our society faces. It’s a challenge that is pervasive in underdeveloped and developing economies, but we also see access being a challenge in developed countries.
We think AI does have the potential to improve access. The growth of communication channels that power mHealth, telehealth, telemedicine, and telecollaboration is immense. These channels will inherently improve access. By infusing AI into these method of communications, new scenarios emerge where data and machine learning can provide automated diagnoses to people at any distance, allowing caregivers to focus on personal treatment and see more patients. We are already seeing this in action through solutions from innovators like Eyenaemia and Stethocloud.
To learn more about Microsoft’s AI projects, visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai.