March 08, 2024

Heersink School of Medicine hosts ACP Alabama Chapter Winter Meeting on AI in medicine

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pillay acp 1Dr. Rubin PillayThe American College of Physicians Alabama Chapter recently held its annual Winter Meeting at UAB’s new Active Learning Center in Volker Hall. The meeting, hosted by the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, focused on “Medicine in the Machine Age: The Integration and Influence of AI in Medicine,” and featured presentations and expert involvement from the Marnix E. Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation team and other Heersink School of Medicine leaders.

The meeting fostered dialogue between physicians across different generations and allowed them the chance to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine can be leveraged across different stages of one’s career. While numerous AI tools exist, physicians need to take the time to gain deeper insights into the potential applications of these tools. Dr. Anthony Chang, an instructor at the Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation, gave the opening keynote and stated, “Don’t retire,” underscoring the necessity of leveraging experience alongside emerging technology to enhance patient care and outcomes.

agarwal pillay mightDean Agarwal with Dr. Pillay and Dr. MightThroughout the event, participants were consistently engaged. The new Heersink School of Medicine Active Learning Center provided a setting that encouraged interaction and paired well with the speakers’ presentation styles, inviting open discussions with attendees.

"I think when an event encourages diversity of thought, you get amazing results like the ones we had at our event- varied levels of education and experience converged to discuss disruptive technology and left everyone with questions to explore and opportunities to seize,” said Jose Flores, associate director of Innovation for the Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation.

A notable event within the meeting, led by the institute’s team, was the live competition between Generative AI and human physicians in a diagnostic scenario. A challenging patient case was presented for both AI and Dr. Martin Rodriguez, interim division director for the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases, to analyze aliquots of the case. While AI demonstrated impressive computational capabilities, Dr. Rodriguez's expertise led to an early and accurate diagnosis, emphasizing the indispensable role of human expertise in medical decision-making.

might acpDr. Matt MightAdditionally, Dr. Matt Might, director of the UAB Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute, spoke at the meeting regarding the importance of generative AI in health care.

"Generative AI represents a transformative leap forward in health care, not as a replacement for human expertise, but as a powerful ally to it,” said Might. “By integrating AI with the nuanced insights that come only from years of medical training and practice, we can pioneer new frontiers in precision medicine and patient care. This synergy between human experience and artificial intelligence is where the future of health care lies, and it's a future we're excited to lead and explore."

Attendees left the meeting with a better understanding of the inclusivity of AI, the importance of diversity in age and experience in technology discussions, and the ability of physicians to leverage technology at any stage of their careers, indicating the importance of educational initiatives to support the effective adoption of technology by health care providers at any career stage.