According to The Asahi Shimbun today, doctors will soon be assisted by artificial intelligence and a cute white robot to help prevent them from overlooking rare or more serious illnesses when diagnosing a patient.
The AI, called "White Jack," will provide a list of diseases that a patient may have contracted in order of probability as well as offer treatment advice.
Jichi Medical University and five companies, including medical device makers, announced the development of the system on 28 March.
The operational testing will start at Jichi Medical as early as fiscal 2016, which begins in April, the consortium said.
AI has been involved in efforts to find the correct treatment of a particular disease but an AI system, which presents multiple potential diseases based on a patient’s symptoms, is rare, according to Jichi Medical.
The system consists chiefly of a talking humanoid robot with a screen fitted into its chest; a medical data bank that includes large amounts of data on medical examinations stored in electronic health records; and AI that prepares a list of potential diseases for each patient using the data.
To create a medical interview sheet, the patient holds an ID card over a card reader during an examination and enters symptoms that he or she is suffering on the screen at the instruction of the robot.
The entered information is then displayed on the patient’s electronic health record along with previous examination results. Doctors add more symptoms the patient is experiencing to the record through questioning the person.
Based on this information, the AI identifies possible diseases, their probabilities, and the kind of medical tests necessary to determine the diagnosis.
If a doctor adds more detailed symptoms, the AI updates the list of potential diseases and recalculates the probabilities.
The AI system also tells a doctor the type and amount of medication that specialists have prescribed to combat the potential disease.
The doctor will make a final diagnosis after taking into account all this information.
A massive data bank that contains 80 million items of information such as the results of patients' medical examinations, medical tests they have undergone and the drugs they have been prescribed has already been constructed.
The consortium involved in the project also includes LSI Medience Corp., a firm that assists in the development of new drugs, and medical device maker Toshiba Medical Systems Corp. It said it will garner further information for the data bank by cooperating with medical institutions across Japan.
“AI will play a major role in assisting doctors in preventing them from accidentally overlooking signs of a disease by listing names of potential illnesses,” said Shizukiyo Ishikawa, a professor of general practice at Jichi Medical.
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