“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

Archilochus, Greek poet

 

This past week, we had our inaugural AIMedConnect webinar focused on AI for chronic disease management at a population health level. The outstanding panelists were: Dr. Orit Wimpfheimer of Zebra Medical Vision, Dr. John Frownfelter of Jvion, and Dr. William Feaster of Children’s Hospital of Orange County. This all-clinician panel had a lively exchange of ideas and insights that led to a fast-paced discussion with valuable insights.

While successes of relatively narrow AI in medical imaging interpretation have been impressive this past decade, other areas that involve higher complexity of real-world diagnosis and therapy of medical conditions have been more challenging.

The panelists discussed how we need to leverage the dividends of these image-related AI projects to improve deployment of AI in chronic disease management and population health. In addition, there was discourse on precision medicine and the need for AI to enable this vision with its capability of data interpretation across many planes, including imaging.

Several key takeaways from the group discussion. First, it is essential that the deployment of AI tools not disrupt the clinician workflow for widespread adoption. The addition of AI tools should also set a higher standard of practice than the status quo. The earlier detection of disease with incorporation of all medical data should raise expectations of population health in the future. In addition, AI can also be leveraged to reduce health inequities by automating processes to reduce bias.

Lastly, we need to have a sense of urgency to utilize the present AI tools to decrease the preventable mistakes and avoidable morbidity and mortality, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the author Arundhati Roy, the pandemic offers a “portal” to a New World, and a renewed paradigm to a vastly improved public and population health are more important than ever. There are three additional “p” words that are essential for its success: perseverance, perspective, and patients.

Perhaps AI for chronic disease management and population health mandates us to have the qualities of hedgehogs as well as foxes.