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AI coaching enhances medical education and training

The objective with the bot is to provide the best possible opportunities for acquiring clinical expertise for students.

Life in the lab. — Image by © Tim Sandle
Life in the lab. — Image by © Tim Sandle

The complexity and rise of data in healthcare means that artificial intelligence (AI) will increasingly be applied within the field. Researchers from the University of Arizona Health Sciences Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center are developing an artificial intelligence bot that they hope will revolutionize the training of medical students and health care workers.

The specially designed Artificial Intelligence Medical History Evaluation Instrument, seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of medical communications by leveraging AI to assess student interactions with patients. This type of technology also helps to boost knowledge management.

To evaluate a student’s medical interview, AIMHEI processes data of the exchange. Using that data, the bot produces a detailed evaluation of interpersonal skills and 16 medical content skills based on guidelines for physical exams and medical history established by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the American College of Surgeons and the World Health Organization.

With the process, students receive feedback on medical interviewing “housekeeping chores,” such as how well they introduced themselves, identified the patient’s chief complaint, or reviewed family medical histories. Students also get detailed feedback on their “bedside manner,” including their ability to express empathy, maintain a polite and respectful demeanour, and adequately explain medical or technical jargon to the patient.

Commenting on this technological leap, Allan Hamilton, executive director of ASTEC, states: “AIMHEI represents a big step forward in our medical education, utilizing the power of artificial intelligence to coach and evaluate medical students in a way that was previously unimaginable.”

Hamilton adds: “We hope it will function as the ultimate coaching tool because it not only streamlines the coaching of the medical interviewing process, but also makes it uniquely personalized for each student while saving valuable time for both faculty and students. It offers individualized coaching with targeted feedback, allowing students to refine their medical interview skills with precision.”

The objective with the bot is to provide the best possible opportunities for acquiring clinical expertise for students.

In time it is hoped that the AIMHEI will be able to generate its own customized patients as an adjunct to help meet the needs for training when encounters with real patients or standardized patients might be limited.

Longer term, the artificial intelligence team in ASTEC is also working on a separate method to develop machine learning capability that will evaluate students’ suturing techniques.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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