CEOs in Health Care Discuss Challenges of Working With Artificial Intelligence - (The Wall Street Journal via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Industry leaders said at The Wall Street Journal Health Forum that while technology is reshaping healthcare, the magnitude and pace of change is not always as dramatic as some had hoped a few years ago, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
  • Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said that for now, the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI) are on the margin, adding that "it's another tool in the toolbox."

  • Novartis has invested heavily in AI programmes, and the company has had the most success using AI to forecast its financial results and clinical-trial enrolment, said Narasimhan, adding that he is more sceptical that AI can keep up with the rapid advances in complex diseases like cancer, or predict which drugs will work better than humans can.

  • Meanwhile, Pfizer executive chairman Ian C. Read agreed, noting that AI's capabilities are restricted by gaps in human knowledge about how diseases function in the body, adding that "using AI in drug discovery is extremely difficult and unlikely to be productive in the near term because our understanding of biology is not as deep as we'd like to believe it to be."

  • Narasimhan noted that studies show drug companies could cut about 20 percent from R&D costs by using certain technologies at a broad scale.

  • Read said a big contributor to high development costs is an antiquated system of running studies that still rely on paper records and in-person visits with trial sites, adding that "we have to move it into the modern era and make it faster and more certain."

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