AI is changing the course of medicine in SWFL

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

The idea of artificial intelligence can come across as scary, but the reality is AI is transforming the workplace every day. In the field of medicine, it’s improving efficiency in ways that benefit the patient.

Who would’ve thought we’d have the power of a million brains in the palm of our hands? Programs like ChatGPT are an example of how artificial intelligence can process information and make recommendations in the blink of an eye. But it’s how it’s used in medical settings that could save your life.

“One of the biggest problems with detecting heart disease in the past is often we ended up waiting until someone had symptoms or had a heart attack,” explained Lee Health cardiologist Dr. Richard Chazal.

That’s a breakthrough, because now we have a numerical value that can be used as a baseline. So that if you have a scan, we detect plaque, we know exactly how much is there. Dr. Richard Chazal

Chazal now has a new tool at his disposal. An AI program is used in tandem with a CT scan that measures problematic plaque buildup inside the coronary arteries. This plaque points to a higher risk of heart disease and might otherwise go undetected for years.

“That’s a breakthrough because now we have a numerical value that can be used as a baseline. So that if you have a scan, we detect plaque, we know exactly how much is there,” said Chazal. “We put you on medicine to try and stabilize that.”

AI is touching all aspects of care, helping doctors make decisions. In some areas, it helps them see things more clearly. And in others, it clears away the clutter.

Getting rid of the background noise is a game-changer for a new AI hearing aid. It’s incorporated 12 million sounds within its system, which can recognize sounds and filter out noises that aren’t needed.

“With what’s called a deep neural network, meaning that the hearing aid actually learns almost like a child learns language by keep adding to the information that it’s perceiving, and then making the right choices as to what to amplify,” said Fort Myers audiologist Jack Adams.

Founder of Lee County-based TeleSpecialists, neurologist Nima Mowzoon uses several forms of AI in the company’s stroke practice. One way involves taking real-time notes when assessing patients.

AI also works within the MRI process, reconstructing and producing high-resolution images, giving doctors a better view of blood flow through the brain. Dr. Mowzoon described it to WINK News health and medical reporter Amy Oshier.

“There’s programs that we’re using for artificial intelligence that looks at the part of their brain that is not getting the perfusion as a risk for stroke,” Mowzoon said.

During a colonoscopy, AI technology can rapidly detect even the smallest abnormalities, highlighting them for review.

These applications are giving health providers more tools to treat you better.

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