AI is not an ultimate magician, but it could save healthcare systems

The ’Rise to the challenge!’ series kicked off again on May 7 with an inspirational conversation about the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and its future application in healthcare. Our experts touched topics such as the fragility of healthcare systems, the potential of AI and why people should not be scared of it taking their jobs. Don’t forget to join the upcoming ‘Rise to the challenge!’ events to gain inspiration by top-quality experts.

AI is not currently everywhere but it will be. It won’t take many years” – said Richárd Zsámboki, Data Scientist at GE Healthcare, an EIT Health Partner in Hungary, about the power of AI and its future application in healthcare during the latest episode of the ’Rise to the challenge!’, an online series for start-ups, innovators, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, university students of medical, engineering, or business faculties, and young researchers. The food for thought event was hosted by Tamás Békási, RIS Business Creation Manager of EIT Health InnoStars.

The first online conversation focused on the potential of AI in healthcare, which has become an even hotter topic since the pandemic shed light on the fragility of global healthcare systems. Their reinforcement should be a top priority because changing disease patterns, population growth and ageing societies will generate a greater demand for well-trained healthcare workers in the coming decades. According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ’Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030’, healthcare systems will globally be short of 9.9 million physicians, nurses and midwives by 2030.

As Zsámboki pointed it out: AI can help. Although it is a common fear that AI could have negative ramifications for employees, both experts agreed that in healthcare AI’s impact will be mainly positive: it will not necessarily make jobs obsolete, only particular tasks – e.g. administrative duties, the checking of medical images, etc. – which will give medical professionals the opportunity to invest more time in patients while also easing the shortage of medical professionals. “AI is not an ultimate magician that will do all the work so that people will be out of their jobs” – he said.

The data scientist – who worked in the automotive industry before joining GE Healthcare – suggested, professionals should not wait too long to make use of the benefits of AI. The information is already available for far-seeing professionals who are ready to upskill themselves. Picking up new skills is inevitable as the impact of AI on healthcare gradually increases. This means that „some doctors will have to use AI algorithms… but it doesn’t mean they need to be data scientists”, explained Zsámboki.

He is the living example that not only medical professionals can make a difference but experts from other fields as well, as in his case, engineers. „You can enhance the lives of people without actually working in medicine.”

EIT Health’s HelloAI RIS Online is a programme which aims to upskill experts from various backgrounds. This unique online training is for university students, researchers and professionals from medical, engineering and business (economics, marketing, law) faculties who are interested in working in the field of healthcare and are willing to know more about AI technologies. Since it includes a starter course in programming, a background in AI or informatics is not required. 

In the last three years over 800 attendees were trained. The course is led by GE Healthcare and supported by the Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm and Technical Institute Leitat. From 2021 University of Maastrict, University of Debrecen, and the HealthVentureLab accelerator will join the programme which together with the umbrella of EIT Health will help creating a valuable ecosystem to jumpstart in AI for the interested European talents. The programme will feature full scholarship opportunities. The deadline for the application is May 28th, 2021.

’Rise to the challenge!’ will be back again on June 17th at 14:00 CET. In the next episode, Ines Matias, Business Creation Manager of EIT Health InnoStars will be talking to Caroline Sai from the EIT Health Investor Network. The events give inspiration by top-quality experts and upskill participants to the challenges of their career.

Rise to the challenge!’ can be followed on the EIT Health InnoStars Facebook account and on LinkedIn.