“It always seems impossible until it’s done” said Nelson Mandela – it is these words that inspired me in the planning and execution of our recent Antidote’s Leading Doctors Summer Seminar –“Introducing AI in Healthcare” that took place in Tel Aviv on Thursday, July 15th, 2021.
Let me take you to the beginning. I joined Antidote Health as Head of Data Science, following 14 years of Clinical Data analyzing and modeling, leading EMR (Electronic Medical Record)-based projects while working in Ichilov Tel Aviv Medical Center and in an AI startup as a data science tech lead at Zebra Medical.
Antidote is a unique startup with an exceptional vision: Providing every human being the right to quality affordable healthcare. Currently, millions of citizens lack the basic right for affordable healthcare, and those who are lucky to acquire it, are faced with extremely high costs. Antidote is reaching out to patients, who can’t afford the health services they need, offering them affordable health plans -both individual and family- provided remotely by top, certified doctors.
The patients and the doctors communicate through Antidote’s app, enabling video calls and patient’s health record management. The app contains smart AI-based features, assisting the doctors to maintain best practices and effective workflow and enabling them to provide the patients with the best possible health care. It was remarkable for me to find the company’s appreciation of its doctors providing its services and create a professional community of knowledge via professional events and seminars, enriching both the doctor’s personal and professional perspective and empowering their performance.
Therefore, the Leading Doctors Summer Seminar was dedicated to the innovative domain that penetrates every aspect of our lives – AI (Artificial intelligence). Since Antidote develops AI-based solutions, it was highly appropriate to bring up this subject, introduce the various facets of AI and invite the doctors to express their needs and insights.
The evening was opened by Dr. David Zlotnick, Antidotes Chief Medical Officer who moderated the seminar, proceeded with opening remarks by Avihai Sodri, Antidote’s CEO – this initial part was concluded with marketing updates from Marc Kenigsberg, Antidote’s Head of Marketing. The keynote part of the event continued with my interactive presentation “AI in Healthcare.
The first part included an interactive exercise where everyone typed down their associations with the words “Artificial Intelligence ”and text analysis app provided us with real-time insights. We noticed that many associated the term AI with “robots”, “machines”, “future”, and “computers”; we also saw words “world destruction” and “hype”.
The second part of the presentation focused on the distinctiveness of healthcare. We are aware, it is difficult to define, collect and model data, since the patient’s health data has big variance and a considerable amount of misinformation. Additionally, clinical decision making of the doctors, combining both scientific observations and personal judgment, plays a key role in the process. Therefore, the solutions are usually met with resistance from the doctors, who feel that AI may possibly replace them. Not surprisingly, several of the words that appeared in the initial exercise expressed negative emotions.
Understanding that, I presented the doctors with various solutions available in the market - those assisting in combating major challenges, by taking care of the monotonic part of the process. For example, AI can scan all radiologist's data stored in retrievable order and prioritizes CT scans with time critical findings like bleeds in the brain. AI also records conversations during a visit in a clinic and translates it into a digital summary in the patient’s file. In primary care, AI automates the monitoring of patients’ chronic conditions and alerts the health system when to approach them.
By addressing how AI tackles real-life challenges, my goal was to shift the narrative, and instead of thinking how AI might replace the doctors, begin channeling the thoughts to how doctors and computers can work together, leveraging their relative strengths. I asked our audience to think of most time-consuming tasks they perform and how it can be eased by automation. The participants then took part in 4 round table discussions.
Doctors together with Antidote team members, who moderated the discussions, and AI researchers from Israeli AI community, who volunteered their time and experience offered a practical perspective. Together, they addressed the top topics of primary and urgent care, discussed possible solutions to improve daily clinical routines, suggested several smart additions to our system- creating a valuable dialogue.
Completing the round tables discussions, we assembled back and conducted a pitch show, where each group briefly presented their discussions, and received questions from the audience. It was very interesting to see how doctors identified their most tedious tasks and thought deeply how those can be assisted, as well as how people from different professional backgrounds, some of whom met only few hours ago, engaged in a productive, professional team discussion. The main challenges of researchers like me, especially in the clinical domain, is to identify the major need, the kind of data should be collected what solution is the best for the end users.
Developing a stand-alone algorithm is barely enough, and if not integrated in the workflow of the doctors, can harm both doctors and patients. Initiation of multi-disciplinary research teams, as the ones we created in our event, is the best practice, I believe, to brainstorm towards solution – a solution that will decrease the doctor’s burden and improve medical care and treatment.
Anyone interested in this fascinating domain and feels that you would like to contribute your time and expertise, please approach me - my door is always open. If you think it’s impossible or that I’m too optimistic, I invite you to return to the first sentence of this article one more time.
Head of Data Science, Antidote Health
Contact her at: email@example.com