In a world where technology and health are increasingly merging, artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as an important tool. This was the central topic of a round table titled ‘Artificial Intelligence, Distant Horizons?’ held within the framework of the 68th Congress of the Spanish Society of Hospital Pharmacy that took place in Bilbao. Throughout it, under the moderation of José Luis Poveda Andrés, manager of La Fe University and Polytechnic Hospital, experts in the sector debate the unstoppable progress of AI in health and how it will change the landscape- health care.
The manager of La Fe explained that digital transformation “must be based on giving value to patients.” Therefore, he considers that a relevant development is to work on efficient automation to reduce the time spent on repetitive activities. He regrets that, although in health care “we navigate the sea of data”, little information is obtained, a situation that the English National Health Service (NHS) is aware of and is already taking steps to reverse, based on the premise that “The data “They save lives.”
For his part, Pablo Poveda Gozálvez, Data Analyst at Renewtrat, explained that in the form of algorithms machine learning, a revolution has been unleashed in AI. Poveda Gozálvez highlights generative algorithms such as LaMDA and GPT, and mentions real-time tools such as ChatGPT or Google’s Bard, which can promote patient-centered digital transformation.
This expert gives examples of how AI and the various systems of today’s language can help hospital pharmacists in their daily work with the aim of “improving productivity and, therefore, becoming more professional.” However, Poveda Gozalvez also warned that, although the information offered by these systems is “believable,” in many cases “it is not true.”
Benoit Lapostolle of Hospital Affairs EMEA in Savana echoed these observations, examining AI’s ability to transform value-based contracts. With AI, the identification of specific populations and drug selection become more accurate, allowing for price adjustments based on the most up-to-date, real-time information.
Antoni Gilabert, innovation director of the Health and Social Consortium of Catalonia (CSC), presented the Virtual Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (CIAM). Gilabert emphasized that AI is “an important lever to face the challenge of changing the system and providing quality care to citizens in a sustainable way.” In this regard, he considers that AI is a tool, and that it can influence “how and not what.”
Gilabert took the opportunity to present the characteristics of CIAM and the projects it has initiated. He emphasized the importance of data, saying that “AI only works when there is data, a lot of data, and there is a lot of reliable and well-structured data in medicine,” which is why Catalonia is prioritizing the use of AI in medicines.
And the law?
The speakers also addressed the issue of regulations. In this regard, Pablo Poveda Gozálvez explained that the United Kingdom has made its regulations more flexible. In this way, European legislation is far behind the major hubs of global innovation, including the United States, Asia and the United Kingdom itself. This expert mentioned that even the NHS has taken the step of making most of its data available to a company with the aim of analyzing it and reaching conclusions.
On the subject of the legislation, Gilabert expressed his conviction that it was “absolutely unsustainable,” but would provide guarantees after the fact. For this reason, he sees no legal problem with the use of AI, although he admits that “there is a lot of uncertainty and caution, because someone has to be responsible for the consequences.”
Continuing the theme of the NHS, Benoit Lapostolle explained that in the United Kingdom a guide for the acquisition of AI has been published, a step that will allow them to continue to develop in this field.
On the other hand, José Luis Poveda emphasized the importance of the scalability of the AI projects being developed and assured that we already have the necessary tools to “go from buying boxes to buying results, but we remain the same as in the last century.”