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Preparing Medical Students for the Impact of Artificial Intelligence

Endoresed in:

February, 2019

Paper Type:

Position Paper

Authors:

  • Krish Bilimoria (University of Toronto)
  • Vinyas Harish (University of Toronto)
  • Liam McCoy (University of Toronto)
  • Nishila Mehta (University of Toronto)
  • Felipe Morgado (University of Toronto)
  • Sujay Nagaraj (University of Toronto)
  • Christine Wang (University of Toronto)
  • Jennifer Zheng (University of Toronto)

Background:

Today, emerging technologies of the such as artificial intelligence, gene editing, nanotechnology, and the blockchain are being explored as ways to fundamentally “disrupt” medicine and healthcare. Despite the promises of such technologies, implementing this kind of disruption has presented countless unintended challenges. Given, first and foremost, the Hippocratic duties of healthcare providers to ‘do no harm’, it is essential that the role of these emerging technologies in medicine is carefully scrutinized by practitioners that understand and can think critically about them. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be broadly defined as the ability for a machine to perform human-like tasks after learning from experience. AI is poised to introduce significant changes to medicine and healthcare. Physicians will be expected to navigate these changes and utilize new technologies in a competent and ethical manner. Currently, curricular and extracurricular opportunities addressing AI in medicine across Ontario medical schools are sparse or nonexistent. Failing to prepare future physicians to respond and adapt to novel AI applications in medicine may lead to dire consequences including but not limited to decreased quality of care, exploitation of patient data, and widened health disparities. It is crucial that physicians, as patient advocates, are equipped with the skills and knowledge base to be a voice in the evolving dialogue surrounding the integration of AI into healthcare.

Recommendations:

  • Introduce and advance education on how AI is impacting the medical profession.
  • Introduce and maintain the uptake of education on the ethical and societal implications of AI, especially as they relate to healthcare.
  • Form student groups that facilitate exploration around the design and implementation of AI in healthcare.
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