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AI is not the ultimate magician, but it could save healthcare systems

20th May 2021

The “Rise to the challenge! series kicked off again on 7 May with an inspirational conversation about the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its future application in healthcare. Our experts touched on topics such as the fragility of healthcare systems, the potential of AI and why people should not be scared of it taking their jobs. Don’t forget to join the upcoming “Rise to the challenge!” events to be inspired by top-quality experts.

AI is not currently everywhere but it will be. It won’t take many years – said Richárd Zsámboki, Data Scientist at GE Healthcare, an EIT Health Partner in Hungary, about the power of AI and its future application in healthcare during the latest episode of the “Rise to the challenge!”, an online series for start-ups, innovators, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, university students of medical, engineering, or business studies, and young researchers. The food for thought event was hosted by Tamás Békási, RIS Business Creation Manager at EIT Health InnoStars.

The first online conversation focused on the potential of AI in healthcare, which has become an even hotter topic since the pandemic shed light on the fragility of global healthcare systems. Their reinforcement should be a top priority because changing disease patterns, population growth and ageing societies will generate greater demand for well-trained healthcare workers in the coming decades. According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030”, healthcare systems will be short of 9.9 million physicians, nurses and midwives globally by 2030. [1]

As Zsámboki pointed out, AI can help. Although it is a common fear that AI could have negative ramifications for employees, both experts agreed that in healthcare AI’s impact would be mainly positive: it would not necessarily make jobs obsolete, only particular tasks – e.g. administrative duties, the checking of medical images, etc. – which would allow medical professionals to invest more time in patients while easing the shortage of

medical professionals. AI is not the ultimate magician that will do all the work and force people out of their jobs, he said. As a data scientist, who worked in the automotive industry before joining GE Healthcare, suggested, professionals should not wait too long to make use of the benefits of AI. The information is already available for far-seeing professionals who are ready to upskill themselves. Picking up new skills is inevitable as the impact of AI on healthcare gradually increases. This means that some doctors will have to use AI algorithms… but it doesn’t mean they need to be data scientists, Zsámboki explained. He is the living example that not only medical professionals can make a difference. Experts from other fields, as in his case, engineers, can do that too. You can enhance the lives of people without actually working in medicine.”

EIT Health’s HelloAI RIS Online is a programme that aims to upskill experts from various backgrounds. This unique online training is for university students, researchers and professionals from medical, engineering and business (economics, marketing, law) studies who are interested in working in the field of healthcare and are willing to know more about AI technologies. Since it includes a starter course in programming, a background in AI or informatics is not required. In the last three years, over 800 attendees were trained. The course is led by GE Healthcare and supported by the Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm and Technical Institute Leitat. From 2021, the University of Maastricht, the University of Debrecen, and the Health Venture Lab accelerator will join the programme, which together with the umbrella of EIT Health will help create a valuable ecosystem to jumpstart AI for the interested European talents. The programme will feature full scholarship opportunities. The deadline for the application is 28 May 2021.

“Rise to the challenge!” will be back again in June. In the next episode, Ines Matias, Business Creation Manager at EIT Health InnoStars will be talking to Caroline Sai from the EIT Health Investor Network. The events are a source of inspiration from top-quality experts and a chance for the participants to upskill to face the challenges of their career. You can follow “Rise to the challenge!” on the EIT Health InnoStars Facebook account and LinkedIn profile.

[1] Global Strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030, World Health Organization, 2016, https://www.who.int/hrh/resources/pub_globstrathrh-2030/en/

 

 

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