Your doctor or AI – where would you turn for medical advice?


The effects of humanity’s quest to survey the world are also being felt in the healthcare sector. With ever more data being collected, intelligent technologies are now required to ensure that it can be managed and evaluated.

We live in a world where doctors create images with the help of magnetic resonance imaging, laboratories analyse our blood values and our health insurance companies take an interest in our sporting activities and eating habits. And while all of this is going on, the scientific world is working to track down the causes of diseases with the goal of designing therapies that are as personalised as possible. An ever increasing volume of data is thus also being generated in the healthcare sector, which means that intelligent technologies are now required to ensure that these vast datasets can be managed and evaluated. It is this issue that our “Digital Health” Dossier addresses. In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) is set to support doctors in making diagnoses, while also speeding up and improving the analysis of imaging examination methods, taking on tedious documentation-related tasks and monitoring the health of patients. However, the use of AI also poses some important questions: Just how reliable is this technology? Who does the health data that is used to train the AI belong to? And what happens with the data? Experts at the ZHAW are also conducting research on digital health, for example at the interdisciplinary “ZHAW Digital Health Lab” and “GEKONT” competence centres. After all, if used appropriately, new technologies can help to improve healthcare, potentially easing the burden placed on healthcare professionals and giving them more time to provide patients with human attention. However, as progress has always provoked fears, we are using this edition of our Dossier to provide a reminder that not everything was better in the past with a historical series of pictures.


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