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WBUR: Smarter Health | How AI Could Change the Relationship Between You and Your Doctor

On Point, an NPR program produced by Boston affiliate WBUR, recently featured Cedars-Sinai cardiologist Sumeet S. Chugh, MD,  director of the Center for Cardiac Arrest Prevention at Smidt Heart Institute, in a discussion about artificial intelligence (AI) tools and how they could help physicians spend more time with their patients.

Artificial intelligence uses computer algorithms that mimic human intelligence by performing a task while learning and improving its performance. Chugh, the director of the Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, has long relied on AI to understand who could develop sudden cardiac arrest, an often-fatal condition.

Chugh’s discussion with On Point host Meghna Chakrabarti focused on the role AI could play in the physician-patient relationship. Rather than interfering, AI could actually improve this relationship by automating tasks that shift a physician’s attention away from their patients, he said.

Chugh explained that the human aspect of medicine has degraded over time because there are pressures on physicians that result in spending less time with the patient. “There are other aspects where physicians today are interacting with a keyboard and a computer when they should actually be looking at the patient,” Chugh told Chakrabarti. “So I think that there are ways that AI can help mitigate those issues and especially buy more time to spend with the patient.”

Artificial intelligence ultimately has the potential to improve health care, Chugh said, but patients must have a hand in the development process, which has been driven by big technology companies. “We must include the patient even as we think of developments, even before we get to putting them in processes,” he told Chakrabarti.

 Click here to listen to the complete interview from WBUR.