The President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, gives a speech on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of the Community of Madrid this Friday at FITUR.DANIEL GONZÁLEZ (EFE).
The President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, indicated this Monday that artificial intelligence (AI) should be used to plan drug doses for patients or to manage the flow of occupancy in intensive care units. Although the regional government later clarified in response to questions from this newspaper that these words are not the announcement of official projects, but simply to put forward a hypothesis about what the future of medicine will be, the sector's unions reacted immediately and this showed their doubts. It is not the first time they have done this: the Community of Madrid already has a pilot plan underway to apply AI to detect rare diseases.
“We need to see all the good that artificial intelligence can offer us,” said the conservative leader in her speech concluding the presentation of the study “The Impact of AI on Education.” “Of course there are many, many advantages in managing public services, for example in health matters, knowing what exact dosage of medication each patient needs, taking into account that each of us is different depending on the stage.” Example of a tumor, when drugs are administered, or when the exact real-time numbers of each of them are determined in the intensive care units and one knows which emergency department can admit new patients,” he argued.
“When tens of thousands of data are managed by so many people, it helps us to understand much better how health care, diseases and preventive examinations are evolving,” he began, listing examples; “or in firefighting; or when it comes to knowing where there may be traffic jams so we can direct more traffic into the entrance areas of cities,” he added. And he emphasized: “For that, of course [la IA] “It is a great ally, but now above all we have to see what collateral damage it can cause to the population.”
Last July, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a draft document on the use of AI in the development and regulation of human and veterinary medicines. Two months later, the Community of Madrid signed a collaboration agreement with Microsoft and the 29 Foundation “to implement a world-pioneering project that will use AI in the diagnosis of rare diseases, helping health professionals to reduce the time to identify this species shorten.” of pathologies, among other applications.”
This milestone, which came after months of protests in primary care over a lack of doctors and time for patient care, raised doubts among the sector's unions. The same as the words of the regional president this Monday.
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Daniel Bernabéu, president of the Amyts doctors' union, assures that the use of AI can promote public health management. However, he warns that several tasks must be solved before implementation. “In terms of management [en urgencias o cuidados intensivos] Yes, it is a useful tool. But you have to determine what data the AI is fed and who enters it. It is also important that they are coordinated with data at national level to avoid disputes based on different information,” explains Bernabéu.
Regarding the possibility of using this technology in diagnosis and prescribing, the president of Amyts adds further challenges. One of these is determining who takes responsibility for patient outcomes when AI tools are used. “Samples are being carried out in other countries. It acts as an aid, but the doctor decides. “No structural value has been given to AI,” explains Bernabéu, adding that it is therefore crucial to have a protocol in place before implementing AI in healthcare. “Doctors should know whether they are being forced or not or who has the final say on a diagnosis.” [¿la IA o el médico?] and who protects them, who takes responsibility for their use,” he asks.
Another element, he points out, is that patients have the right to know that their process is supported by AI. “In order [la IA]. But it is also true that there is pressure and technological optimism from the industry to use it, but there are still some trade-offs that we have to weigh,” says Bernabéu.
But the president of Amyts emphasizes: “If there is not enough funding for public health, no matter how much AI we have, we will not improve outcomes.” There are things we cannot stop doing, such as increasing investments and solving overloads in specialist areas such as family medicine.”
For its part, the UGT points out that although technology can be a tool for healthcare, there are cases in which it cannot replace doctors and specialists. “We’re not in a science fiction movie. “This is one of the awkwardnesses that the Community of Madrid has accustomed us to,” said a spokesman. “AI can be used in an optimal and productive way, but the implication here is that it is intended to replace skilled workers and that must not be the case,” the spokesman explained, emphasizing that the areas related to pharmaceuticals and intensive care are particularly sensitive.
Finally, CC OO Sanidad Madrid supports the use of technologies for public health management but, as it assures, does not lose sight of the needs of the sector. “Technological advances are essential tools for people to work, but they do not replace the needs of the workforce,” the union explains. “If the intention of the President of the Community of Madrid is to cover up her poor management of public health by bombastically selling us her wonderful introduction of new technologies, ignoring the need to hire more staff, improve working conditions and talent “, not counting CC OO Sanidad Madrid,” denounces the union.
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