AI: Panacea or Placebo for Healthcare Industry?

From speedier diagnoses and cancer detection, to bringing drugs to market faster, add healthcare to the lengthening list of industries set to be transformed by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Once the exclusive domain of some of the longest-trained and highly skilled professionals in the world, medicine, pharmaceuticals and even hospital and clinic administration look set to go into overdrive with new generative AI-driven software and robotics. AI in healthcare is expected to grow at an annual rate of 40.1% from US$12.6 billion in 2023 to US$187.7 billion in 2031. 

Already, countries such as the US have seen the first regulator-approved AI diagnostic tools, speeding up detection and diagnosis of a variety of hard-to-detect abnormalities and cancer. The UK government has invested US$17 million into areas where AI could help, such as identifying women at high risk of premature births.

In pharmaceutical labs, AI is lending a speedy hand to help scientists shorten the process to move drugs from concept and research to testing simulations into the hands of doctors. Hospital and national medical systems are also reporting the potential of this technology to enhance efficiency and cut billions from administrative costs.

Risks remain. Questions have been raised about accuracy and bias in AI-influenced diagnoses, while others are concerned about how widely accessible the new services will be, especially with an ageing population and turbulent changes in income disparity seen in many developed economies.

How can Asian governments regulate new generative AI technologies’ impact on their healthcare systems?                                       

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Marie Teo
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