For AI technologies, healthcare has long been viewed as a promising domain. AI-based applications could improve health outcomes and quality of life for millions of people in the coming years—but only if they gain the trust of doctors, nurses, and patients, and if policy, regulatory, and commercial obstacles are removed. Prime applications include clinical decision support, patient monitoring and coaching, automated devices to assist in surgery or patient care, and management of healthcare systems. Recent successes, such as mining social media to infer possible health risks, machine learning to predict patients at risk, and robotics to support surgery, have expanded a sense of possibility for AI in healthcare. Improvements in methods for interacting with medical professionals and patients will be a critical challenge.
As in other domains, data is a key enabler. There has been an immense forward leap in collecting useful data from personal monitoring devices and mobile apps, from electronic health records (EHR) in clinical settings and, to a lesser extent, from robots designed to assist with medical procedures and hospital operations. But using this data to enable more finely-grained diagnostics and treatments for both individual patients and patient populations has proved difficult. Research and deployment have been slowed by outdated regulations and incentive structures. Poor human-computer interaction methods and the inherent difficulties and risks of implementing technologies in such a large and complex system have slowed realization of AI’s promise in healthcare. The reduction or removal of these obstacles, combined with innovations still on the horizon, have the potential to significantly improve health outcomes and quality of life for millions of people in the coming years.
 LeighAnne Olsen, Dara Aisner, and J. Michael McGinnis, eds., “Institute of Medicine (US) Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine,” The Learning Healthcare System: Workshop Summary. (Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007), accessed August 1, 2016, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53500/.