Singapore happens to be embracing the concept of preventive care where its citizens are concerned, and AI is poised to play a major role in this endeavour.
Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr. Janil Puthucheary, remarked at the AI Health Summit on November 23 that Singapore happens to have the potential to utilize AI in multiple areas, right from improving diagnosis and treatment to early detection, disease prevention as well as prediction, and of course expediting drug development.
AI’s application may require additional time so as to reach maturity. Currently, they are discovering how AI can be made use of in the short term so as to enhance clinical decision support, give a thrust to the productivity of healthcare teams, and also provide support to individuals.
Patients are expected to experience improved health as well as their well-being as they embark on their journey towards a Singapore that looks healthier, with a focus on preventive care for the overall population.
The speaker went on to stress that the impact of AI is experienced significantly by healthcare professionals in their work. Therefore, it is indeed a must for these professionals to be precisely prepared and skilled so as to effectively make potential use of the new technology.
Dr. Puthucheary emphasized the significance of not only recognizing the potential of AI but also understanding its limitations along with the ethical implications that are associated with its use.
In pursuit of this objective, AI Singapore, which happens to be the national program aimed at enhancing AI abilities, and SingHealth have gone on to sign a Memorandum of Understanding- MoU at the summit. As per this MOU, healthcare professionals will be given AI training and qualifications specifically customized to their industry.
It is well to be noted that support will be provided for joint research as well as innovation projects. The education programs are most likely to begin in June 2024. Apparently, these programs will consist of a 10-part e-learning video series and in-person classes along with workshops. The topics that are going to be discussed include ethics when it comes to AI.
Use of AI in Healthcare
As per the director for AI Innovation at AI Singapore, Laurence Liew, the organization has been developing training curriculum, apprenticeship programs, as well as certification programs for the past few years.
He explained that one of the main objectives of their collaboration is to leverage their expertise when it comes to developing rubrics as well as metrics. This will ensure that AI professionals get proper training within the healthcare sector’s regulations.
Apart from this, Associate Professor Daniel Ting, director- AI Office, SingHealth, emphasized that throughout the past decade, AI has gone on to demonstrate significant potential when it comes to enhancing decision-making capabilities as far as healthcare professionals are concerned.
He went on to mention that AI algorithms can be made use of to analyze mammograms and also assist when it comes to the screening process for breast cancer. He talked of the retinal surgeons, including himself, who happen to have the skill to detect changes in the eyes of patients with diabetes.
According to him, the embrace of smart watches and wearables is also contributing to the advancement of preventive health among the general public. These devices can go on to monitor data like calorie intake and step count.
He said that technology such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT can potentially be used to enhance communication with patients.
They happen to be currently in the process of developing AI chatbots that happen to be powered by advanced language models. These chatbots look to provide patients with immediate responses in case of their inquiries.
Challenges associated with using AI
Associate Professor Ting stressed the importance of gauging the biases that are inherent in the technology.
It is pivotal to understand the process when it comes to building AI, as many of its models can be influenced due to biases. How each AI algorithm goes on to handle biases and whether the product is indeed suitable for the intended population are a matter of concern.
Data is important for the development of AI algorithms, and one needs to ensure that the data flowing into the AI system gets safeguarded, handled wisely, and also kept safe, he stated.
According to Mr. Liew, the curriculum looks to educate doctors as well as nurses, who happen to be allied health professionals, about the safety and also ethical considerations that are associated with using AI. Additionally, users will have the choice to provide feedback in terms of where the AI model is not functioning effectively or requires retraining.
As per Associate Professor Ting, if one can prevent patients from getting admitted to the hospital, entering the ICU, or even experiencing any disease-related issues, it will be possible to justify the long-term costs in the future, say in five, ten, or fifteen years.