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A literature review confirms AI has promise within the field of geriatrics.(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

When it comes to artificial intelligence’s usefulness in healthcare spaces, recent analyses of its various layers have ranged from touting its diagnostic potential, to criticizing its underwhelming or inaccurate responses to queries.

A new meta-study on using AI within geriatrics falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. It praises AI as a “valuable asset” but still warns about the need for future research and potential ethical concerns.

The review of existing literature covered thousands of articles. Researchers stated that the growing number of older adults dependent on a healthcare system that is already overwhelmed means that adding AI to the equation “could be promising.” This is particularly so with regard to assisting seniors living with cognitive disorders, they said. 

That tracks with other recent studies and announcements that AI is being developed to help screen for dementia, as well as heart disease.

But the study also found that within senior living and care, AI is not yet widespread, and that “detailed” involvement with these technologies “by more critical users may not have yet occurred.”

That also extended to the ethics of AI usage.

“The ethical considerations are very unsystematic and scattered,” study authors observed. “The existing literature has a predominantly technical focus emphasizing the technology’s utility.”

Despite the researchers’ conclusion, many have suggested that AI usage can skirt one major concern — replacing actual clinicians — by being tailored more toward supplementing administrative roles or tasks, saving valuable time for existing healthcare professionals without putting their jobs, or value, at risk.

The study, titled “Clinical Decision Support Systems in Geriatrics: An Ethical Analysis,” was published in the September issue of JAMDA.