DeKalb County

New Emory Health Institute hopes AI can one day help prevent, diagnose disease and treat patients

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A new initiative involving some of Georgia’s top universities hopes to harness the power of AI for healthcare.

The Emory Empathetic AI for Health Institute is a partnership using experts from Emory, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and others.

The goal is broad, looking at how AI can help prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure diseases.

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“I would argue we are scraping the service in terms of the potential of A. I” says Anant Madabhushi, PhD, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Madabhushi will lead the institute. He believes AI will be able to help make treatment of some of the worst diseases both better and more affordable.

Take, for example, cancer.

“42% of newly diagnosed cancer patients will eventually lose their life savings Dr. Madabhushi said “A big reason for that is we are having an issue of what is called overdiagnosis and over-treatment. We are calling a lot of diseases more aggressive than they are, and we are throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at it.”

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Madabhushi believes AI could help address that. He believes that AI will be able to give a better idea of how aggressive a particular disease may be and what treatment may be best.

The doctor believes the result will be more specific treatment plans that don’t waste money on potentially unnecessary treatment.

“That will not only help the patient, but it can also help address the problem of unnecessary treatment costs,” Dr. Madabhushi said.

Treatment plans are just one part of the potential for the technology. He says researchers will look at ways to improve the technology to help doctors diagnose ailments.

Finally, he hopes the technology may help prevent future diseases by giving a more accurate forecast for patients’ potential health risks.

He says AI can be used to provide a better guess at a person’s risk for future things like cardiovascular disease. He hopes that better information may lead to more people changing their behavior.

“With that information, patients will be more incentivized to change behaviors,” The doctor said.

Already, his team has 200 awarded or pending patents. However, he knows with new technology, it will take time to build faith and trust.

“We have to do this correctly, we have to do it ethically,” Dr. Madabhushi said.

He says the program needs to make sure biases do not hurt the program. Certain people, sexes, and races can all have different risk factors or present symptoms for diseases differently.

Regardless, Dr. Madabhushi hopes the institute can bring the best and brightest together to help solve the health problems of the future.

“Leveraging the power of AI-- To create the personalized, individualized cure on demand for a given patient,” Dr. Madabhushi said.

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