Computers are better at diagnosing?

A new study analyzing the role of IBM’s supercomputer named Watson in medical decision making was just published in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. While the most acclaimed medical professionals might keep some studies in mind, Watson can check millions of them quickly. Instead of fighting them, doctors should realize we need to include such solutions in the everyday medical decision-making processes.

Using 500 randomly selected patients from that group for simulations, the two compared actual doctor performance and patient outcomes against sequential decision-making models, all using real patient data. They found great disparity in the cost per unit of outcome change when the artificial intelligence model’s cost of $189 was compared to the treatment-as-usual cost of $497.

“This was at the same time that the AI approach obtained a 30 to 35 percent increase in patient outcomes,” Bennett said. “And we determined that tweaking certain model parameters could enhance the outcome advantage to about 50 percent more improvement at about half the cost.”

I’m very glad they added this message at the end:

“Let humans do what they do well, and let machines do what they do well. In the end, we may maximize the potential of both.”