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    Cognitive computing shakes up healthcare: What execs need to know


    The future of AI jobs in healthcare

    One of the biggest misconceptions about AI is that the technology will eventually put clinicians out of work. But Jain says it is a mistake for a healthcare organization to invest in cognitive computing thinking it will replace the expertise of humans.

    “One mistake is trying to replace people instead of trying to make people more effective. Our systems have to be taught and trained,” Jain says.

    Though nearly 40% of jobs in the U.S. will be automated or affected by AI by 2030, the healthcare industry has the lowest risk of people losing jobs because of this, according to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers released in April 2017.

    In fact, data science with a focus in IT and healthcare is one of the most in-demand career fields, according to a February 2017 report by CareerCast.com. As more healthcare organizations seek to invest in cognitive computing, the need to hire people who can interpret data and use machine learning applications will increase 16% by 2024, according to the job openings website.

    Jain stresses the important of having a diverse team of specialists—including physicians, data scientists, analysts, and those with business expertise—to help interpret and put into action the results from AI analysis.

    “Many think that using this type of technology is like buying a DVD player—use it one time and it should work perfectly. Augmented intelligence is a personal journey. You can’t try to jump in and fix everything,” Jain says.

    In the next 10 years, Jain says that cognitive computing will be a more mainstream part of the healthcare landscape, and AI capabilities will be sought by patients who want a personalized healthcare experience. He says that clinicians who can work with cognitive computing systems may be seen by health plans as more efficient, and therefore receive higher ratings when it comes to patient care.

    “In 10 years, we may take for granted how providers and physicians will always be using an AI platform. Consumers will expect us to have cognitive assistants with all providers,” Jain says, adding that as a physician he understands the benefits of cognitive computing. “I look forward to practicing alongside Watson so that I don’t miss anything. Patients will ask for it as they search for physicians. Health plans will say, perhaps a doctor who uses the latest technology is more efficient. It’s just another way to assist them in making the most appropriate decisions.”


    Donna Marbury is a writer in Columbus, Ohio.


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