How medical professionals, at various stages in their careers, view the challenge of adapting for the age of AI:
Anwar Hussain MD, MHA
Anwar is clinically trained in emergency/family medicine and has practiced in urgent care for several years. His background in health IT/informatics spans approximately 15 years, most recently culminating as the first-ever Corporate VP, Chief Medical Information Officer at Community Health Systems (CHS).
AIMed: How do you think that candidates for jobs need to change themselves to be able to remain employable as AI becomes more widely used?
Anwar Hussain: I think broadly speaking healthcare is complex and it is not going to be quick to adopt AI. There is clearly an art to caring for patients, and on top of that the process of care is complex. AI is not a panacea for those needs. It can play a focused role and that will provide the best way for it to be adopted. At this point, candidates don’t need to do anything else — it will take a long time to adopt these technologies. The goal for candidates is to be able to become educated on the technology and prepare for it to be brought in into specific areas. Pathology and radiology are two areas where AI likely plays an earlier role than in other fields of medicine. There is however a massive infrastructure that includes non-clinical aspects of healthcare (e.g. billing) where AI can permeate faster.
AM: How do you think that employers will need to change in order to remain appealing choices for top talent as AI becomes more widely used?
AH: If it is hospitals we are talking about, they need to get comfortable with the technology over time. This is not an immediate priority — they have many others that are much more burning issues. Other institutions such as payors, biotech/pharma etc. again should also look at bringing in specific use cases where there is a strong ROI for use of AI. Once that is found then the focus is on finding the right people to execute on those goals.
Thomas Fogarty III, MD
3rd year Pediatric Critical Care Fellow, PGY-6
Baylor College of Medicine / Texas Children’s Hospital
AIMed: Are many of your peers learning about AI?
Yes and no – there are few clinicians that have embraced AI by learning to code and develop algorithms, but there are a significant number that are beginning to talk and learn about AI and I suspect several more will take the leap and learn to code & apply AI in their clinical workflow or research methods.
Will you teach yourself how to better understand how you can use AI in your chosen role?
I see the current status of healthcare and AI as a new frontier for scientific breakthrough and will absolutely be using it to enhance pediatric health and outcomes. I see potential applications of AI in nearly every element of my job and I plan to use AI to enhance productivity and care delivery throughout my career.
Is it important for your job satisfaction to work somewhere that innovates with new technology like AI?
I wouldn’t consider working for a healthcare system that does not have a plan to integrate some level of AI into their infrastructure at this point. It would be like considering being a pilot for an airline that judges the weather by only by looking out the window – it is behind the industry standard. While the healthcare industry has a bit more regulatory issues to overcome, having a plan in place to work toward AI integration is essential for any prospective job as a clinician.
AIMed: Are many of your peers learning about AI?
Michelle Choe: There are. I know one of my co-residents attended the recent AIMed conference. There has also been talk of consulting subspecialties at different institutes using technology like TeleMed. Although not a prevalent topic among physicians-in-training at my institute, I feel it is something everyone is aware of as up-and-coming that will likely play a bigger role in medical practice.
AH: Will you teach yourself how to better understand how you can use AI in your chosen role?
MC: I am excited to learn more about AI. I wanted to attend the AIMed conference that took place in December, however, was unable to due to my work schedule. I hope there will be similar learning opportunities soon.
AH: Is it important for your job satisfaction to work somewhere that innovates with new technology like AI?
MC: It is. I hope to subspecialize in pediatric hematology/oncology, a field in which a lot of research is happening. Something I would love to see happen is a universal electronic medical record (EMR) system.
This would make it easier to provide better patient care and collecting data for research would be facilitated. Prognoses for common childhood cancers, such as leukemia, are improved as treatment protocols have been refined over the years thanks to research.
However, there is lots of work to be done for solid tumors, which are rarer. With a universal EMR, I hope it will be easier to collect data on these diseases, powering further studies and research for cures. AI could take all this data and break it down so that we can identify prognostic factors.