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Can AI relieve the burden on care?

Prof Wolf-Ostermann from the Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research (IPP) at the University of Bremen in the dossier " Digital turnaround - Digitalwende" in “Süddeutsche Zeitung”

According to Prof KarinWolf-Ostermann from the Institute of Public Health and Nursing Research (IPP) at the University of Bremen, AI has the potential to improve the quality of nursing care, improve working conditions in nursing care and support people with care needs as well as training, knowledge transfer and the development of people's skills. "In practice, improved quality of care for patients and a reduction in the workload of healthcare professionals are seen as important goals of the application," said Wolf-Ostermann. Healthcare workers are generally open to the use of AI and also see it as a relief, she said.


Where is AI being used in care? The international literature on application scenarios for AI in care shows that machine learning methods have predominantly been used in care to date. AI is most frequently used in hospitals, outpatient settings are rather rare, and nursing education or day care are hardly represented. "The predominantly described application purpose lies in tracking, monitoring and the classification of activity and health, followed by applications for coordination and communication as well as fall detection, fall avoidance and fall risk classification," said Wolf-Ostermann. Overall, the study situation is very thin.


Missing the mark: Technologies are often developed that have no concrete benefit in day-to-day care.In addition, there are still many hurdles to overcome before AI can really take over work in care: "First of all, the right technical prerequisites are needed for the successful use of AI in care," said Wolf-Ostermann. This means: sufficient and qualitative data to feed the AI, the digital infrastructure to use it and support in acquiring the skills to handle the AI.In addition, the acquisition and maintenance of technology and testing under everyday conditions must be adequately funded.


Human factor: "We should always emphasise that digital applications should be seen as one tool among others; they cannot and should not replace personal attention," said Wolf-Ostermann."It must therefore always be ensured that the human component remains involved and that ethical and social issues are adequately discussed."The question also arises as to whether existing inequalities are exacerbated by the different levels of access to digital care technologies.

Karin Wolf-Ostermann
Karin Wolf-Ostermann