Committed to the advancement of healthcare systems and practices, the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), in collaboration with Erasmus+ and the Linnæus University, organized a symposium titled “Unveiling the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare” at the Pierre Abou Khater Auditorium in celebration of the Erasmus Days 2023. Featuring experts and professionals, the symposium covered the different methods and benefits of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. Dr. Ghazi Asmar, Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and Dr. Jessy El Hayek, Dean of FNHS, were in attendance, alongside faculty, staff, students, and many distinguished guests.
FNHS Dean J. El Hayek opened the symposium with her welcoming address by celebrating the inauguration of the NDU Center of eHealth, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program within the framework of the University Centers of eHealth Innovations: Reinforcing of Education and Research eHealth and Medical Links (ICU-RERE) project and coordinated by Dr. Mosad Zineldin, Professor of Health and Life Sciences at Linnæus University, Sweden. The Center’s primary mission is to apply the Knowledge Triangle approach, i.e., the integration eHealth solutions within education, research, and community (ERC), in the hopes of digitizing and delivering accurate health support to patients, practitioners, medical centers, and hospitals. The Center was equipped for usage in the Summer 2023 session, and the symposium represented its first endeavor.
The first presentation by Dr. Sibelle El Hayek, FNHS Assistant Professor, explained the function of AI in obesity treatments and prevention. Through the use of wearables, such as smart watches and health apps, AI would enable health practitioners to detect the risk factors associated with obesity as well as its complications, thus allowing health practitioners to form accurate diagnoses and formulate personalized diet plans that target specific concerns. Moreover, by monitoring physical activity throughout the treatment journey, the AI gathers data patterns and accordingly send individual alerts for medical intervention. S. El Hayek noted that this data, once shared with physicians, would facilitate the advancement of health research, as is the case for the Center for Obesity Prevention, Treatment, Education, and Research (COPTER) at NDU.
Dr. Najwa Gerges, FNHS Assistant Professor, then provided an in-depth observation of the ways through which AI can be integrated into the medical system. Gerges defined eHealth as “all kinds of information and communication technology used for supporting health care and promoting a sense of wellbeing.” The broad definition would thus include not only AI but also machine learning, which uses algorithms and data analysis to identify patterns and deliver accurate diagnoses, thus incorporating the complexity of medical phenomena in its reasoning. Gerges also noted that a subset of machine learning, dubbed deep learning, can equally be as useful to health care professionals by enabling the concurrent extraction of features and their classifications, such as in the case of diabetes.
Dr. Antoine Saad, Head of the Quality and Patient Safety Department at the Lebanese Hospital Geitaoui University Medical Center (UMC), was up next, demonstrating the benefits of AI in predictive analytics and clinical decision support. Saad began by disclosing that 97% of health care data goes unused; thus, to manage health complexity and improve medical care, practitioners must reconceptualize the usage of patient data to uncover hidden patterns. To that end, Saad suggested incorporating the “three Vs” of data, namely, the volume (the amount of data from diverse sources), variety (the types of data collected), and velocity (the speed at which data is generated). By considering these factors, the predictive model, which presents analytic prediction based on patients’ historical data, would enable practitioners to attend to immediate risks and interventions.
Ms. Cynthia Abi Khalil, Nursing Director at the UMC, gave the final presentation on the integration of AI in nursing. Abi Khalil began by deconstructing the opposition of care and tech, with the former being seen as compassionate and human-centered, while the latter as mechanical and task-oriented. Abi Khalil believes that the nursing practice would develop by combining both elements, forming an area of study titled nursing informatics. Presenting a practical approach, she enumerated the various avenues through which AI has already improved nursing sciences, including wearables and sensors, which can help in the management of heart attacks, give seizure alerts, assist in motor and cognitive rehabilitation post-stroke, as well as inform patients about cardiovascular and Parkinson’s complications.
The symposium concluded with a pre-recorded demonstration of the eHealth system software by Mr. Manoli El Alam, Software Engineer, giving the attendees insight on its application, benefits, and user-friendly interface. By delivering comprehensive and diverse evidence- and practice-based lectures, the symposium concluded that AI can be instrumental in the evolution of health care practices, dispelling the misconception that humanity and tech are intrinsically oppositional.