Use of Artificial Intelligence (IA) for self-diagnosis and prescription poses significant risk to human life, warn healthcare professionals. 

On Doctors’ Day, they voiced concern over the growing trend of patients depending on Internet search results even for serious ailments.

They believe that while there are many advantages of using the Internet, there are no less problems impacting everyday lives because of it.

Ease in life and potential risks, both multiplied over the last couple of years, if not more, with the entry of AI and Machine Learning (ML), which are fast overtaking our lives, say doctors.

According to them, the Internet has emerged as a primary source of health information, fuelling a rise in unsupervised self-medication practices.

AI has introduced a new facet to this trend, which poses significant risks to human life.

Engaging in such unchecked behaviour presents grave threats and may result in fatal consequences if incorrect medications are consumed due to misjudgement.

Potential dangers of self-medication include inaccurate self-diagnosis and the misuse of medications, leading to potentially hazardous drug interactions or incorrect dosages, they said.

AI works based on data input, and in healthcare data has to be accurate to the last decimal to ensure perfect diagnosis of the ailment to provide best medication or treatment.

Hundred per cent accuracy is certainly not possible when it comes to providing data by non-healthcare practitioners.

“The Internet, especially AI, is developed and dominated by the western world, especially the US. Basic information available on AI platforms could be those associated with the geography and demography of the West.

“Such information may or may not be suitable to people in India, because the information available will only be to the closest and not the most accurate,” Dr. Gayatri Kamineni, COO, Kamineni Hospitals told IANS.

“Dosages matter to ensure best treatment for any ailment, and if that input is wrongly provided, the result could be disastrous, even leading to fatalities in certain cases.

“The Internet in general and AI in particular must be seen as a support function and not as a judgment to trust blindly,” she said.

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Dr B Kishore Reddy, Chief Ortho Oncologist and Managing Director, Amor Hospital believes that when someone takes medication without consulting a doctor or medical professional, he might be choosing the wrong drug.

“Additionally, self-medication increases your risk of taking an incorrect dose or using drugs for longer than necessary. And if you take a substance for a prolonged period, your body may become dependent and need this substance to continue functioning correctly. “Sometimes patients may feel some short-term relief and may think taking medication to alleviate symptoms is beneficial. But there is a likely possibility that such medication could mask symptoms of an underlying medical condition, and if proper medical guidance is not sought, that underlying condition could worsen and become dangerous over time.

“Misusing or overusing medication can also increase the risk of severe medical complications, causing harmful symptoms, including nausea, convulsions and even death.”

“Internet, especially Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have eased the lives of healthcare practitioners. We have access to the most advanced treatment protocols, and due to the ease in communication, the risk of making mistakes has reduced a great deal in a hospital setting.

“However, this advancement is controlled and monitored by experts who have decades of experience in providing best care. It is the combination of experience, expertise, and Internet, which delivers the best outcome for patients.

“Depending on the Internet alone, without the experience and the expertise is not advisable at all,” observed Dr. C. Mallikarjuna, Chief Urologist and Managing Director, Asian Institute of Nephrology & Urology (AINU).

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