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Jonathan Chen: Can algorithms make doctors better?

An expert in bioinformatics says that empowering clinicians with artificial intelligence that combs medical data will deliver better health care than either could do alone.

A little girl getting a band-aid put on her arm after a shot by a healthcare professional

Can we empower individuals with the collective experience of the many? | Unsplash/@cdc

We’re all familiar with those algorithms on our favorite e-commerce and streaming services that recommend purchases, books or movies based on what “others like you” have enjoyed.

In the industry, they are known as “recommender engines.”

Medical doctor Jonathan Chen is an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford and an expert in bioinformatics who wondered if the medical profession might benefit from similar artificial intelligence. He now creates recommender engines for doctors that comb real-world clinical data to help them make key decisions based on steps other doctors have taken with similar patients, empowering individuals with the collective experience of the many.

Chen tells Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast that such programs will soon be commonplace in exam rooms, helping doctors become better at what they already do and making medical practice a more consistent, universal experience for everyone.