a new era in patient education and clinical care

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As a physician and digital health practitioner, I have seen firsthand the challenges of ineffective patient education and the immense potential for technology to revolutionize how we inform, engage, and empower patients in their health journeys. Imagine a future where every patient, regardless of their language, cultural background, or health literacy level, can receive tailored, engaging, and easily understandable video content that empowers them to manage their health effectively. This is the promise of AI-powered patient education videos, which leverage the latest advancements in generative AI and personalization technology to create content that speaks directly to each patient’s unique needs, concerns, and preferences.

The intersection of health care and technology is at a pivotal moment, with generative AI and personalized video content emerging as powerful tools to revolutionize patient education and transform clinical care delivery. As health care providers in the United States and the Global South grapple with the challenges of ineffective patient education, poor health literacy, and limited access to reliable health information, AI-powered personalized videos offer a compelling solution to bridge these gaps. In the United States, the adoption of AI-powered patient education videos has the potential to significantly improve post-discharge outcomes, reduce readmission rates, and lower health care costs. By delivering personalized content that is medically accurate, culturally relevant, and easy to comprehend, these videos can help patients better understand their conditions, adhere to treatment plans, and make informed decisions about their care. This not only leads to better health outcomes but also enhances patient satisfaction and engagement.

For the Global South, where linguistic diversity, low health literacy, and limited access to health care services pose significant barriers to effective patient education, AI-powered personalized videos offer a transformative solution. By generating content in vernacular languages and tailoring it to the specific cultural and socioeconomic contexts of each region, these videos can bridge the health literacy gap and make critical health information accessible to millions of people who have been traditionally underserved by the health care system.

The potential impact of AI-powered personalized videos in transforming clinical care is already being recognized by leading global health organizations. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced the launch of S.A.R.A.H, or Smart AI Resource Assistant for Health, a generative AI assistant designed to provide information on major health topics such as healthy lifestyle habits and mental health. This prototype health AI can communicate in eight languages, is available on any device, and covers topics such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, quitting tobacco, living an active lifestyle, eating a healthy diet, and stress relief.

What sets S.A.R.A.H apart is its use of generative AI, powered by Soul Machines’ Biological AI platform, which enables it to provide more accurate, nuanced, and empathetic responses in real-time, compared to preset algorithms. The launch of S.A.R.A.H is part of a larger trend in the health care industry, with organizations increasingly recognizing the potential of AI in improving access to health information and support. In 2020, the WHO launched the Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco, which pairs users with AI virtual health workers for nicotine replacement treatments. The National Institutes of Health has also invested $130 million over four years in its Bridge2AI program, aimed at accelerating the use of AI in biomedical and behavioral health research.

As more health care organizations and governments embrace the potential of AI in health care, initiatives like S.A.R.A.H and the collaboration between the United Kingdom and generative AI companies OpenAI and DeepMind demonstrate the growing recognition of AI’s potential to revolutionize clinical care delivery and improve health outcomes globally. By harnessing the power of AI and personalized content, health care providers can bridge health literacy gaps, narrow inequities, and empower patients with up-to-date, reliable health information, ultimately leading to a new era of patient-centered care.

However, the integration of AI and personalized videos in health care also comes with significant challenges that need to be addressed. Ensuring the accuracy, reliability, and safety of AI-generated content is paramount, as inaccurate or misleading information could have serious consequences for patient health. Rigorous testing, validation, and ongoing monitoring of AI systems will be essential to maintain trust and confidence in these technologies. Just as new drugs are subjected to extensive clinical trials to ensure their safety and efficacy, AI-powered clinical decision support tools must undergo equally stringent testing and validation processes. This should include well-designed scientific studies to demonstrate their clinical effectiveness, safety, and potential to improve patient outcomes. Only by holding AI tools to the same high standards as pharmaceutical interventions can we ensure their reliable integration into clinical practice and maintain public trust in their use. Additionally, issues of data privacy, security, and ethical use of patient information must be carefully navigated to protect patient rights and prevent misuse. Collaboration between health care providers, AI researchers, ethicists, and policymakers will be crucial in developing guidelines and best practices for the responsible deployment of AI in health care.

Furthermore, while AI-powered personalized videos have the potential to narrow health disparities, efforts must be made to ensure equitable access to these technologies across all populations. This may require investments in digital infrastructure, device accessibility, and digital literacy programs, particularly in underserved communities. Health care organizations and governments must work together to create inclusive policies and initiatives that promote the widespread adoption and use of AI-powered patient education tools.

As the health care industry continues to evolve and embrace digital transformation, the integration of generative AI and personalized video content into patient education and clinical care delivery is no longer a distant dream but an imminent reality. Personalized videos bring us one step closer to the promise of precision medicine, tailoring care to each individual’s unique needs, preferences, and circumstances, and generative AI allows us to overcome the logistical challenges of creating such customized content at scale. As we proactively address the challenges and work collaboratively to ensure responsible deployment, we have the opportunity to usher in a new era of patient-centered care.

Shitij Arora is an internal medicine physician.


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