Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

Medicine and healthcare is one of the many industries that have been infiltrated by artificial intelligence. AI enables advancement through many aspects, though it has its limitations. Shifting from traditional practices to implementation of modern technology incorporating AI may pose a few challenges along the way. Let us discuss the pros and cons of artificial intelligence in medicine in more detail:


1.     Streamlining of Tasks

AI excels at undertaking mundane and tedious tasks like scheduling appointments, fetching out medical records, and translating clinical documents. Running such errands manually takes up a lot of extra time, and there is ample room for mistakes. AI allows healthcare facilities to automate several operations and eradicate the possibility of errors. Everything from signing up a new patient to billing transactions becomes seamless. This greatly reduces the stress of pending work and deadlines for the hospital staff.

2.     Real-time Data

An important factor in identifying and solving medical problems is to acquire reliable data in a timely manner. AI allows physicians and other healthcare professionals to gain accurate and precise data, as well as accelerate evaluation. The access to faster and realistic output can lead to improved decision-making and precautionary measures. This real-time analysis also promotes better communication between doctor and patient. Remote consultation and mobile notifications have proven to be very useful in emergency situations.

3.     Profound Research

AI can access and store unlimited amounts of data, which is exactly that makes it so intelligible and smart. It learns from the information fed to it, and its understanding develops over time. The analytic abilities of AI make it a valuable asset to research. Medical experts can navigate and assess data more expediently with the assistance of artificial intelligence.

4.     Efficient & Cost-Effective

Thanks to automation, healthcare professionals have more time to diagnose and treat patients, instead of handling the plethora of formalities. The minimization of administration and technical errors means lesser complaints and personal injury claims to process. Saving time almost always leads to saving money, which is a big win. Medical facilities can use their resources in comparatively productive areas, which in turn generate more revenue.


1.     Requires Monitoring

There is no doubt that AI has become so much smarter over the years; nonetheless, it still needs human input and supervision. Unlike real doctors, computers cannot make behavioral observations, contemplate over data, and think out of the box. AI relies of previous trends and patterns, which can be inconsistent or misleading at times.

2.     Security Risks

AI systems are vulnerable to security breaches because they are dependent on virtual data networks. Despite being the smartest technology to date, it requires advanced cyber security to combat offensive AI used by hackers to break the strongest defenses.

3.     Shortcomings in Data

Every medical case is unique; two people suffering from the same disease seldom benefit from identical treatments. The viability of a medication or healthcare procedure for the patient depends upon several factors, such as age, gender, body mass, and the existence of other health conditions. AI does not recognize and analyze these complex data variations like the human brain.

4.     Unemployment

While AI reduces several management and administration burdens, it also takes away a number of jobs. People who were previously hired to undertake the repetitive and humdrum chores are no longer needed. The advancement of Artificial intelligence promises the creation of many new jobs for those proficient in data science, whilst replacing or terminating an even greater number of miscellaneous work roles.


Potential of AI in Healthcare

Modern era is all about digitization, which is why AI (artificial intelligence) is rapidly infiltrating every industry, including healthcare. Medical data is complex, and it keeps growing with the development of new research and treatments. AI application can help speed up or automate several healthcare operations, whilst reducing or eliminating chances of error. AI may bring out extensive improvement in the healthcare system, and perhaps fend off cases involving medical malpractice. The capabilities of AI are indefinite, yet application in the following sectors looks most promising right now:


Healthcare administration deals with a lot of paperwork, including registration, clinical documentation, record updating, claims processing, and financial management. Medics spend at least 25% of their time dealing with mundane administration tasks, which means the time allotted to patient care is reduced by one fourth. Chat bots or virtual assistants can take care of simple chores through machine learning. For example, a computer/machine can allot appointment time and date to patients a lot faster than a person, by referring to a digital calendar. Similarly, reminder calls and messages can be easily scheduled and delivered by a computer.

AI is capable of making phone calls, and one may not even realize that they are talking to a robot. Patients who come for prescription refills can also be assessed and accommodated faster with AI applications. Precisely, AI can take over several healthcare jobs that do not require face-to-face interaction with an actual doctor

Patient Engagement

More than 90% of complaints coming from patients concern poor customer service. Their calls are not answered, they are confused over the paperwork, and the front desk person is unable to provide any assistance. Robots have high potential to excel human beings in the department of customer care. Through integration with big data, they can answer all the questions that bother patients. AI has already mastered voice recognition, thus in can interpret different languages and/or accents. As a result, many foreign patients can be accommodated with ease as communication becomes easier with computerized translation. The best thing about talking to a robot is that it won’t get agitated, no matter how many times you ask the same question. Patients do not have to feel nervous or hesitant while seeking information from a machine, as they would across a real person.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Radiology images acquired through x-ray, MRI, and CT scans provide insight regarding the internal conditions of the body. Nonetheless, they are often inadequate to diagnose complicated health issues. In such cases, doctors opt for a biopsy, i.e. extracting a physical sample from the patient to study in the laboratory. This process is not only time consuming and convoluted, but can also endanger the patient’s life. AI has the potential to enhance the viability of radiology tools by producing images or digital representations that more detailed and profound (something like a virtual biopsy).

When doctors are trying to make a diagnosis, they may end up with multiple possibilities. Further investigation and research is needed to narrow down the options. Various tests are carried out to assess obvious and hidden symptoms. AI can speed up this process by referring to information in the medical database; this way doctors will not have to do the work manually and the most accurate hypotheses will be filtered immediately. AI has been applied to evaluate complex data sets involved in cancer cell study and its treatment. It can also provide a deeper understanding of genes, antibiotic resistance, and immune system response in different patients.


Author Bio

John Adams is a paralegal who writes about widespread legal and social issues. He helps readers overcome challenges and solve many personal problems the smart way, rather than the hard way. He aims to reach out to individuals who are unaware of their legal rights, and make the world a better place.


Google’s “Medic Algorithm” update: What health websites need to know

In the last few months Google has been rolling out new features to it’s search engine targeting (among other things) better searches for health information. It has nicknamed the ‘Google Medic Update’ and it poses some serious questions for health bloggers and service providers. So here are the basic things you need to know:

Why such an update?

According to Google, pages offering health information or services fall into a category called “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Pages”. In the words of Google ‘We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety’. In a nutshell getting bad advice and service from heath websites actually affects your life and Google wants to do something about it.

Who does it affect?

  • Shopping or financial transaction pages: webpages that allow users to make purchases such as paying for drugs  online.
  • Financial information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about things like health insurance.
  • Medical information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, and nutrition.
  • Legal information pages: webpages that provide legal advice or information on topics such as creating a will for a person who is mentally ill.
  • News articles or public/official information pages important for having an informed citizenry: webpages that include information about local/state/national government processes such as notices on public health activities.

Further evidence that is has had a major impact on health websites can be seen by the test run by Search Engine Roundtable which clearly shows health websites are definitely affected.


What can I do to keep my rank up?

  • You don’t need to be an expert to write about all health related topics…: Although YMYL does focus on expert knowledge, it’s quite possible to have everyday expertise in YMYL topics such as support pages where people share personal experiences in health.
  • … just specific medical information on health: Specific medical information and advice (rather than descriptions of life experiences) should come from doctors or other health professionals.
  • Maintain EAT – Google looks at High level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Your main content should be clear with a helpful title and it should be clear who the visitor is getting the information from. Examples of high quality pages can be seen here, here, here, and here.
  • Avoid the low quality YMYL signals such as
    • An inadequate level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
    • The quality of the main content is low.
    • There is an unsatisfying amount of main content for the purpose of the page.
    • The title of the main content is exaggerated or shocking.
    • The Ads or SC distracts from the main content.
    • There is an unsatisfying amount of website information or information about the creator of the MC for the purpose
      of the page (no good reason for anonymity).
    • A mildly negative reputation for a website or creator of the MC, based on extensive reputation research.

If you need even more information please feel free to contact us.


Social Media & SMS: Our two new services

If you are a health organization looking at growing your health informatics profile in Sri Lanka its hard to ignore social media and the mobile phone. Consider the facts:

  • There are nearly 500,000 social media users in Sri Lanka who are 25 and above who have mentioned either healthcare and/or medicine as an area of interest*. This is nearly 14% of the entire facebook population in Sri Lanka!
  • Even conservatively social media is growing at the rate of over 1.5 to 2 percent per year in Sri Lanka alone.
  • Mobile phones are now the top source of internet use even in Sri Lanka.

With these stats in mind Health Lab Crew is happy to announce our two new services: Social and SMS

Social Media

Our dedicated social media team has over 4 years experience in social media for health associations such as the Sri Lanka Medical Association and Ceylon Medical Journal.


Keeping in touch with your membership can be quite a challenge. At the same time informing them about important news and events can be rewarding experience both for the institution and member. Our SMS service is a one time installation which can then be designed to send custom SMS. The SMS can even be broken down into different categories (e.g. Life or Ordinary) so the right member gets the right message. You can even receive a SMS reply with our service.


5 Best Chrome Extension to increase your Productivity

Google Chrome comes with a huge collection of extensions and apps . Today lets talk about useful extensions to improve your productivity by reducing your time wasting, organizing  your content while surfing the net.

1. LastPass

Today almost every site comes with members profile. So  you may end up with several user name and passwords. Practically its not possible to remember all these. Last pass is well-known password storage services. This has chrome extension where you can store all your password from single user name and password.


Continue Reading..


Protect your website with these tips!

When it comes to a health website, Sri Lanka is no different to any other country. Whether your website is or .lk or even if your website is hosted locally you are vulnerable to getting hacked and losing your precious data. Based on the recently released website safety tips released by Google, here are our best practices to make sure your website and data are safe:

Always use latest and trusted

  • Always use the latest CMS versions. Don’t listen to those who says older versions are better unless you are having some sort of outdated plugin.
  • When creating password never create one password for all administrator logins. Also limit the access retries with a plugin.
  • Always ensure your plugins are reliable and reputable (This link will show you how)

See through the eyes of Google

  • Another thing you can do is when a site is down is see if the hacker has redirected traffic to a hacked page.
  • You can use the Fetch as Google tool which is basically your website as seen by Google. Check it out.

Google also recommends you use a secure FTP or SFTP, check your htaccess and similar sensitive files for read/write permissions and always be vigilant for any sort of change in files or structure when you access your web admin panel.

These are just some of the tips we use to protect our sites. What sort of tools do you use? Give us your thoughts here or @hlabcrew!

(CC Flickr kris krüg



EHRs and the problems of closed systems

An electronic health record or EHR is an organized, systematic collection of health data of an individual or a community. Many doctors will have their own ideas about what sort of system they would like to use. Looking at the EHR market from a public health point of view requires these EHR systems to be interoperable, so that any citizen can move from his physician to another one without too much difficulty.

This can present a problem from a business sense to larger software companies who would like that their software be the predominant software in the market. When systems are inter-operable it means that customers don’t have to be trapped in to what is known as vendor lock-in. The outcome is two-fold. From the side of the medical practitioner it means he/she cannot move his practice’s EHR to, for example, a more modern EHR without incurring significant costs. From the patient’s side it means the medical practitioner cannot easily help the patient who maybe moving to another city to move his/her patient’s data with them.

A case in point is the EHR Epic. It is one of the biggest providers of EHRs and by many counts has saved many lives by its efficient system. The issue is interoperability. Epic, just like and other EHR has to move with the US Government’s ‘Meaningful Use‘ interoperability programme which is moving into stage 2, and Epic is feeling the heat.

While EHRs and PHRs are in it’s infancy in Sri Lanka, The take home message for a medical practitioner is to be responsible when choosing your EHR or any Health Informatics system. A good EHR should be one that that is efficient but at the same time is serves the needs of your patient by having an easy way to transfer their data to the next practitioner. This can only make sense on the long run.