Tech firms prepare for attack on primary care | Technology

“I had a headache and stomach ache. I had diarrhea,” writes Raquel Jimenez, an 18-year-old student in her last year of high school in Seville, on ChatGPT and Gemini. He believes that exams and the proximity of university entrance exams make him uncomfortable, but they give him the closest medical appointment in 15 days. “I'm sorry you're feeling unwell,” both sites respond before summarizing possible causes, proposing solutions and recommending a visit to the doctor if symptoms persist. Both platforms, in their most basic versions, are a…

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“I had a headache and stomach ache. I had diarrhea,” writes Raquel Jimenez, an 18-year-old student in her last year of high school in Seville, on ChatGPT and Gemini. He believes that exams and the proximity of university entrance exams make him uncomfortable, but they give him the closest medical appointment in 15 days. “I'm sorry you're feeling unwell,” both sites respond before summarizing possible causes, proposing solutions and recommending a visit to the doctor if symptoms persist. Both sites, in their most basic versions, offer some sympathy, possible diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Big tech companies are perfecting these systems to attack consultations and bring their conversational machines into the primary care field, but always, they say, as a support tool, a physician's co-pilot and a potential solution to the decline of primary care.

Artificial intelligence has proven to be very useful in certain medical procedures. “Lucidwave [un programa de inteligencia artificial (IA)] “It enables us to use medical ultrasound images anywhere, with portable and wireless technology, to process the data and provide a diagnosis before the doctor's diagnosis,” explains the Belgian Bart van Tafel, member of the project and innovation director of Catholic. University of Leuven. At the last International Congress of the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Health Management (Sempspgs), several hospitals already presented applications for the management of notifiable diseases (Reina Sofía de Córdoba), the surveillance of hospital infections (Universitario de Urnes). and hip prosthetics (Jimenez Diaz) or tumor registration.

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But these apps are advanced apps in specific areas. The National Institute for Statistics reports that big tech companies want to go further and reach out to health system startups to establish themselves in primary care, where 81.4% of women and 72.3% of men attend at least once a year.

A Review of 53 investigations The impact of AI highlights the value of decision support tools to help improve error diagnosis and medication management. IBM Watson HealthResources such as chatbots are available at any time, collect basic information and highlight potential changes that require additional attention.

Microsoft is developing in the professional sector Azure Health BotA conversational system based on medical information, classification protocols, and language models trained to understand medical terminology.

Google has entered this market with a family of integrated models With LM. Greg Corrado, head of artificial intelligence for healthcare at the multinational, highlights applications such as radiographic image analysis tools and AMIE, which “optimize diagnostic reasoning and dialogue following patient-caregiver interactions.”

Miguel Ángel Mayor, expert in family and community medicine and author of an article Primary care, “While AI offers many opportunities and its future looks promising, it poses various challenges in its application, especially in medicine,” it said.

Advantages and challenges

Among the benefits, Meyer highlights its ability to automate administrative processes and simplify decision-making by combining various data sources, from patient characteristics, their symptoms and results, or the medications they take to testing genetic data. “In addition to playing a very important role in the management of chronic diseases, they may aid in the development of diagnosis and treatment recommendations,” he writes.

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But the expert points out some limitations. The first is the quality of the data being fed to the system. Sharavya Shetty, a Google researcher, saw this shortcoming during the development of AI for dermatological solutions: “Many data sets are collected in clinical settings, which means they may include skin cancers and more serious conditions, but they are not representative of the general. Concerns like an allergic reaction.” To address this shortcoming, they turned to Stanford University to create a bank of images that included hair, nails, skin tones, age or gender.

Meyer also warns of the dehumanization of medicine if it is overburdened with technology. Corrado says he considered this limitation in his development: “Empathy is a fundamental part of medicine, so we designed this model. [AMIE] Communicate respectfully, explain things clearly, and support the individual in the decision-making process.”

Another challenge is hallucinations, false answers with the appearance of truth that AI systems can provide due to a lack of data on which they are based or errors in developing the solution.

José Ruipérez is a primary care physician and happily accepts proposals for conversational robots in his office, where he can dedicate six to 10 minutes a day to fifty patients: “The robot can collect information and combine analytical data before an in-person consultation. , electrocardiograms or related patient information. That will allow us to optimize the time we can devote to them. But he's not going to do the test, and he's not going to see the patient's eyes. Some tech-savvy patients can use these tools, but older people want and need individualized care.

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In this sense, technology companies repeatedly emphasize that their advances are not substitutes, but complements. Corrado is blunt: “We're not talking about giving advice, we're not talking about making a decision or sharing a decision or anything like that. We're talking about the part of the conversation where the doctor gathers information and asks what's going on with you. “Let's explore how we do that in terms of being helpful, empathetic and helpful to people.”

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