A.I. might be better than an M.D. at figuring out which patients are at high risk for a heart attack, new research shows.
In the study published in the journal Plos One, artificial intelligence computer programs developed at the University of Nottingham in England were significantly more accurate at predicting which patients were at high risk.
Programs using an algorithm based on data from the medical records of more than 300,000 patients, accurately predicted 7.6 percent more heart attacks than doctors using standard methods — like considering a person's age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other risk factors, the researchers found.
The algorithm also figured out which patients could safely forgo the medications — and avoid the sometimes serious side effects.
"I can't stress enough how important it is, and how much I really hope that doctors start to embrace the use of artificial intelligence to assist us in care of patients," Dr. Elsie Ross, a Stanford University vascular surgeon who was not involved in the research, told Science magazine.
Dr. Stephen Weng, a research fellow at the University of Nottingham who led the research team, said using the algorithm would be easy for doctors – but it will not replace them anytime soon.
"You'll always need doctors and nurses," he told NBC News.
"An A.I. algorithm won't be able to tell you that the patient was nervous because they had a big job interview in the afternoon and was caught in a traffic jam on the way to the appointment and thus their blood pressure was high on the day. What A.I. does allow is for doctors to become more efficient at their jobs."
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