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Doctors may be able to use AI to diagnose patients

The University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the first medical facilities in the world to partner with IBM on a computer-aided diagnostics program. IBM's artificial intelligence technology, Watson, is being used to analyze patient data and compare that data to the medical literature in order to come up with diagnoses.

Many people are optimistic about the potential of Watson and other AI diagnostic programs. There are about 7,000 known rare diseases, and no human doctor can realistically memorize the diagnostic criteria for every single disease. With computer aids, a doctor may be able to narrow down the list of possible diagnoses more quickly and then use human reasoning skills to correctly diagnose a patient.

The success rate of computer-aided diagnostics programs is not fully known, and some studies have shown that human doctors diagnose patients more accurately than AI. One of the reasons it is difficult for researchers to determine how well diagnostic software works is that there is no uniform method for measuring performance. Researchers have found that AI can diagnose some diseases more accurately than others and input from doctors can affect the success of AI diagnoses. For example, researchers found that younger doctors put more data into AI tools and achieve better results when they use the tools.

No matter how a doctor arrives at a diagnosis, it is vital for a patient to receive a correct diagnosis. When a patient is misdiagnosed with a disease that they do not have, the patient can be injured by unnecessary medical procedures and medications. An attorney might be able to help a victim of medical malpractice pursue monetary compensation for a misdiagnosis by filing a medical malpractice claim.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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