Saving Lives with Artificial Intelligence

As an emergency medicine physician, some of the most rewarding moments have been taking care of babies. I remember delivering a baby, being the first human contact, watching the first breath, and feeling so privileged to be a physician. Interestingly, artificial intelligence is having one of the first meaningful impacts in medicine in newborns as well.

Unfortunately, an estimated four percent of newborns in the United States are affected by genetic disease, which is the leading cause of death in infants. Medical diagnoses need to be made quickly to improve outcomes. Sequencing the first human genome cost about $1 billion and took 13 years to complete. Today, AI-augmented rapid whole-genome sequencing has is being performed – averaging 19 hours. Physicians can quickly treat these infants suffering from severe and unexplained symptoms such as seizures or metabolic abnormalities where time is of the essence. Hence, enabling timely and precise medical care.

The next revolution in medicine will be incorporating artificial intelligence to every aspect of our practice. AI will not replace the physician but aid us in taking better care or our patients. The Times They Are A-Changin'.

Cesar O. Avila, M.D. FACEP