young male doctor and older man sit on a sofa and smile during home doctor visit

The collective wisdom of doctors, combined with the power of machine learning (also known popularly as artificial intelligence, or A.I.), is greater than the sum of its parts.

For several years, millions of doctor-answered questions have been contributed to teach our AI-powered symptom checker. This gives patients personalized access to answers about their health and, if needed, guides them to a wide variety of virtual care experiences, including real-time, online visits with doctors.

Newly released research indicates the same technology that powers HealthTap’s AI-backed virtual care platform is about to outperform the diagnostic accuracy of junior doctors, but senior doctors still can outperform diagnoses driven by machine learning. This raises the question, is AI better at diagnoses than doctors?

Researchers in China looked at more than 560,000 patients treated at Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center over 18 months. The results, published in Nature Medicine, showed the A.I. system had accuracy rates of 90% to 97%.

Augmented Doctors

Stanford University computer scientist and A.I. expert Bill Mydlowec, a member of HealthTap’s research team, explains that these A.I. technologies will augment, rather than replace, physicians. “By augmenting the doctor with a machine learning algorithm, we can eliminate potential blind spots – for example when dealing with rare conditions – and reduce diagnostic errors due to false positives.”

This A.I.-fueled augmentation arrives not a moment too soon. Total healthcare expenditures have reached $10 trillion globally, says Geoff Rutledge MD, Chief Medical Officer and HealthTap co-founder.

While some have turned to simple telemedicine to cut costs, telemedicine alone is not enough, Rutledge wrote in his recent LinkedIn post. Nor is A.I. enough on its own. Instead, technologies such as HealthTap’s leverage the collective wisdom of thousands of doctors (verified and authenticated as licensed doctors by HealthTap) to deliver more accurate and trustworthy recommendations to HealthTap visitors and consumers, as well as doctors.

As more and more A.I. is put to the test in real-world situations, faster, better, and more affordable health care will be within our grasp. We encourage you to try HealthTap’s AI-driven symptom checker today to draw your own conclusions.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve had an experience with A.I. in healthcare and how you felt about it.

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Scott Mace

Writer at HealthTap. You may have read my work at HealthLeaders Media, BoardWatch, InfoWorld, or even the Village Voice if you go back far enough.

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