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Healthcare AI Revolution – Empowering professionals and patients

We invited health tech experts Ishita Barua and Hanne Støre Valeur to our Data Insiders podcast to discuss what the future might hold for doctors and patients alike.

Data Insiders / May 23, 2024

Would you consider donating your healthcare data to save lives? AI is on the brink of changing healthcare as we know it – but navigating the associated risks and obstacles is a complex conversation.

We invited health tech experts Ishita Barua and Hanne Støre Valeur to our Data Insiders podcast to discuss what the future might hold for doctors and patients alike.

The role of AI in healthcare is riddled with contradictions. On the one hand, the technology is already saving lives – with breakthroughs being uncovered at an unprecedented rate. Yet, questions regarding the use of data, privacy and the trustworthiness of the solutions persist. For the latest episode of our Data Insiders podcast, we invited two accomplished specialists to share their insights on the topic with us.

With a PhD in Medicine, Ishita Barua is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at Livv Health, a startup rethinking the way we can control and make use of our individual medical data. She is also known as an author and a lecturer at the University of Oslo. Hanne Støre Valeur is the Head of Tietoevry Care Norway, our branch specialized in the digitalization of the Nordic health and social care sectors.

Our conversation did not shy away from the challenges and ethical considerations but left us inspired by the promise of AI in helping us live healthier lives.

From saving time to saving lives

One of the most common issues with generative AI is the phenomenon known as “hallucinating”. In practice, this means that even if an AI doesn’t know the answer to a question, it might try to make something up. In healthcare, these kinds of errors can have dire consequences. Given that, it is no wonder that a cautious approach has defined the development of AI tools in this field.

This is why initially, the prime use of AI in healthcare was streamlining manual work. Valeur mentions a Tietoevry project with Helsinki University Central Hospital where it was discovered that the healthcare professionals had to spend a majority of their days with information management. With AI handling these tasks, the doctors have more time to spend with their patients – resulting in higher-quality treatment.

While the increase in efficiency has been a game-changer in itself, the most groundbreaking AI applications in healthcare are those related to improving diagnostics. According to Barua, these are the result of technology improving to a point where the risks that were previously considered roadblocks have become much more manageable.

For instance, a tool created at Johns Hopkins University was found to be able to detect sepsis in patients faster than humans, reducing mortality rates significantly. Similarly, AI has shown immense potential in identifying fractures or even cancerous lesions.

Transforming the doctor-patient relationship

We generate a significant amount of personal data through mobile devices daily. However, this data can only be useful if it’s accessible and processed correctly.

Barua shares an example of having been misdiagnosed with a serious condition while volunteering to test a new AI tool. Due to GDPR regulations, she couldn’t offer the company behind the tool her data that could have helped prevent similar mistakes in the future.

It was this experience that inspired her to found Livv Health. As Valeur points out, limited access to data is currently the biggest obstacle in training healthcare AI. The data is often scattered across different systems, making it hard to make full use of. The final decision regarding one’s data should remain with the individuals – but currently we often lack the choice to supply scientists with our healthcare data even if we would like to.

Additionally, having access to the data can vastly improve our means of monitoring our own health. Livv Health, for example, allows users to combine their healthcare records with wearables, making it possible to share it with doctors when needed.

Both Barua and Valeur believe this has already started a shift in the relationship between patients and healthcare workers. In many cases, AI can serve as the first point of contact, helping us contextualize what kind of treatment we might be needing. This way, AI doesn’t merely provide tools to medical professionals, but can ideally empower all of us with more information and agency over our well-being.

Interested in learning more about this topic? Listen to the full conversation on our Data Insiders podcast below!

Hanne Støre Valeur
Head of Tietoevry Care Norway
Data Insiders
The #1 Nordics Data Podcast

The #1 Nordics Data Podcast, invites top professionals and visionaries of data-driven business to share their learnings and insights. Find all episodes on Spotify!

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