Like the nascent film industry in the 1920s and aerospace in the post-war era, Los Angeles could play a major role as a hub for health care artificial intelligence innovation. Already, a multidimensional transformation is underway in health care in the United States. In the next five years, divergent technology-driven forces will act together to impact the industry in three ways: improved population health, enhanced outcomes and reduced costs.
I believe Los Angeles is poised to seize this opportunity and drive major advances in health care AI and help stakeholders achieve these goals. Here are three must-haves for Los Angeles to be successful:
Improve care through AI without damaging the role of physician. Los Angeles has the size and scope of services to test AI’s limits with the physician and patient in mind. For example, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health recently finalized their hospital merger to create one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States (including 30 hospitals in California). The company has made clear it aims to accelerate the shift toward virtual and artificial intelligence scribing technologies. The company also said its goal is not just to expand in size but also to enhance patient-centered care. As the company explores artificial intelligence in diagnosis, prescribing treatments and monitoring medications, it’s also enabling physicians to spend more time with their patients without replacing the vital role of the medical professional.
Accelerate transparency and collaboration. Medical researchers have long-sought to shield processes under the veil of secrecy. However, a new generation of leaders are showing how AI could shift that paradigm toward openness and collaboration. For example, Belinda Tan, co-founder and chief medical officer at Los Angeles-based Science 37, is a business leader, physician-scientist and educator. Her goal is to create a transparent, universal medical-scientific ecosystem that will connect all people to scientists using cloud-based technology to recruit and complete remote trial execution and accelerate biomedical research. In areas like brain science, local experts, such as brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel, are vocally raising “what ifs” regarding AI in neuroscience and the healthy brain.
Set the standard for the ethics of AI and machine learning capabilities. Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School and other academic institutions can play an important role in AI. We can ensure the industry moves forward with considerations for ethics and safety. A study published in March 2018 in The New England Journal of Medicine described the potential benefits AI and machine learning could offer patients. However, the study cautioned that the full benefit of using these tools to make predictions and take alternative actions can’t be realized without careful ethical considerations such as analyzing data bias, faulty data sources, comparison with peer-reviewed literature and patient confidentiality.
Leading the charge in the health care age will require a visionary, robust and well-trained workforce. A recent Forbes story reported that Los Angeles’ technology labor force has grown by 12.3 percent in the past two years, positioning it as the top market for technology job growth. At Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, we aim to arm the L.A. health care and business community with best-for-the-world leaders who will champion early and ethical adoption of innovative ideas in healthcare, including AI.
Gary Mangiofico is a professor Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.
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