Health Watch: New center focuses on AI’s impact on future of health care

Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) - A new center based at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon will focus on artificial intelligence and the transformative role it’s expected to play in health care over the next decade.

We may not know it but artificial intelligence, or AI, is all around us, whether it’s the cars we drive or the cellphones we use on a regular basis. And that includes how health care is delivered.

“Computers are getting very good at solving problems,” Saeed Hassanpour said.

Hassanpour is the director of the Center for Precision Health and Artificial Intelligence, which he calls a hub for education and research. It’s based in the Williamson building at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and is a collaboration between the Dartmouth Cancer Center, Dartmouth College and the Geisel School of Medicine.

“The aim of the center is to establish Dartmouth as a leader in the field,” Hassanpour said.

Experts say AI’s impact on health care is already happening thanks to the technology’s ability to extract and analyze huge quantities of data.

“It can be used to help clinicians easier and more quickly and more accurately diagnose patients by analyzing complex data,” Hassanpour explained.

For example, images from a broken bone to a possible tumor-- AI can be used to read the scans, freeing up radiologists and other specialists to focus on more complex patients.

“Reduce the probability of errors and can make the process more efficient,” Hassanpour said.

More efficient means more cost-effective. Hassanpour says AI can also optimize treatments and predict how patients will respond to different drugs. He says the center will create new educational and training opportunities, attracting students and professionals interested in pursuing careers in both AI and health care.

Despite AI’s increasing role in health care, experts say human touch is not going away.

“AI is a tool that if used correctly can improve and augment the care and improve the care for patients,” Hassanpour said. “Makes it more accurate and also more affordable.”

The center is not just about improving outcomes. It will also take a closer look at potential problems with AI and ethical concerns associated with the new technology.