Liu Xiaogang, director of the Gastroenterology Department at Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, applauded the research finding, but added the system still had shortcomings.
“Doctors need to observe illnesses with their eyes, so they may get tired after a long time, and the AI system can notify me of polyps using sound. Occasionally, I find a tiny polyp and the machine does not remind me, so I’ll think, doesn’t the machine see the polyp?” Liu said, noting he already relies on the system a little bit.
He also noted that the research is the first prospective, randomized and comparative clinical study with the deep learning AI system application in the field of gastroenterology worldwide.
Another significance of the research may lie in assisting and supervising novice doctors, according to both Wang and Liu.
“China has always had a problem of unfair distribution of medical resources, specifically, doctors. The AI-aided remote diagnosis technology can partly improve the situation. I believe in the near future, some easy and repetitive work could be given to AI machines. Or, when I’m treating patients, the machine could help share my responsibilities, as a helper,” Liu told the Global Times.
Wang noted that at the current stage, AI cannot replace doctors.
“There are many decision-making moments as well as operational work that cannot be done by AI. Moreover, AI companies cannot take responsibility for medical liability and legal issues,” he said.
He added that doctors should trust themselves instead of leaving it totally to machines to make decisions. “In terms of the accuracy of the verification and medical liability of doctors at the legal level, the AI machine is just a helper. We cannot trust it completely,” he said.