Published on 06 Aug 2023

iAIM 2023: Embrace AI, Empower Doctors, Elevate Patient Care

Why is the adaptation of AI in healthcare slow?

Is AI a threat or an opportunity for the healthcare workforce?

Are patient outcomes indeed going to get better with AI?

How would an AI-integrated curriculum look like in medical universities?

These are just some of the many probing and provocative questions that were raised on Day 1 of the eagerly anticipated International Conference on AI in Medicine 2023 (iAIM 2023) on 5 August 2023. Co-organised by LKCMedicine with the College of Engineering, NTU Singapore and the National Healthcare Group (NHG), the three-day inaugural conference brought together multidisciplinary experts, from clinicians and scientists to engineers, AI experts and students, to explore the promise and challenges surrounding the impact of AI on medicine and healthcare, and to spark collaborations across disciplines.

iAIM 2023 Welcome Remarks by Prof Joseph Sung, Prof Louis Phee and Prof Benjamin Seet

Held at the Novena Campus, iAIM 2023 kicked off with the three Co-Chairs,  LKCMedicine Dean and NTU Singapore’s Senior Vice-President for Health & Life Sciences Distinguished University Professor Joseph Sung, College of Engineering Dean and NTU Singapore’s Vice President (Innovation & Enterprise) Professor Louis Phee and NHG Deputy Group CEO (Education & Research) Professor Benjamin Seet, priming the some 600 attendees for three days of riveting discussions and insights in their welcome remarks.

The fully packed Ong Tiong Tat & Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium was charged with excitement as the Co-Chairs officially launched iAIM 2023.

Group Photo taken at iAIM 2023 of Mr Tan Chuan Poh, Prof Joseph Sung, Prof Louis Phee and Prof Benjamin Seet

Proceeding with Chairman of LKCMedicine Governing Board Lim Chuan Poh’s opening remarks, he noted, “It gives me great pride and pleasure that this medical school, the youngest of three in Singapore and only 13 years old this year, is hosting such a distinguished audience at this inaugural international conference on AI in Medicine."

With the Conference featuring 11 keynote speeches, two panel discussions, nine symposiums, four workshop and two tutorials with international and local experts, the first day covered a range of topics by renowned experts including Chairman, Medical Board of Tan Tock Seng Hospital Professor Jing Jih Chin, Founder of DeepLearning.AI Professor Andrew Ng, National University of Singapore Chen Su Lan Centennial Professor in Medical Ethics Julian Savulescu, and Vice Provost of Tsinghua University and NTU Nanyang Professor of Practice (Clinical) Professor Wong Tien Yin.

Day 1 Highlights:

Prof Chin Jing Jih presenting Keynote 1 of iAIM 2023

Prof Chin delivered a stirring keynote on the challenges and promises of AI, investment needed to proliferate and apply AI wisely, while being mindful of healthcare workers’ and patients’ psyche. Ultimately, the approach we should adopt is prudent optimism to see both sides of AI in medicine, and not solely focus on the hype.

Prof Andrew Ng presenting Keynote 2 of iAIM 2023

Professor Ng enthralled everyone at the iAIM fireside chat on the challenges of navigating regulatory hurdles and building bridges for AI-Preneurs and healthcare professionals.

iAIM 2023 Symposium 2

This was followed by parallel symposiums on “Engagement of doctors and nurses with AI” (Symposium 1), “Cutting-edge technology that might impact medicine” (Symposium 2) and “Issues on data privacy and patient autonomy” (Symposium 3).

It was another full house keynote session at “Ethics of ChatGPT” by Prof Savulescu. His profound thesis on ChatGPT dialogue with ethics, values and morality included an insightful discussion on the trolley dilemma.

Dr Le Song, BioMAP’s Chief AI scientist, added to the multi-faceted discussions of the day by drawing out the role of pre-trained AI Models for target discovery and drug design. While the road is still long, the benefits, previously unimaginable, are in sight due to the many innovations taking place.

Dr Tan See Leng in Panel Discussion of iAIM 2023 Day 1

One of the iAIM 2023 crowd-puller events was an insightful panel discussion featuring Guest of Honour Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng, Director-General of Health, Ministry of Health Professor Kenneth Mak, School of Computer Science & Engineering, NTU Chair Professor Miao Chun Yan and Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, MiRXES Dr Zhou Lihan. They delved into the role of regulation and policy, the need for it to keep pace with AI innovations, job displacement as well as the crucial role of good data practices in producing high-performing AI tools.

In the fifth keynote speech, Medical Director, HealthlinkBC Emergency iDoctors in Assistance (HEiDi) Professor Kendall Ho from University of British Columbia illustrated the accelerated use of digitisation in emergency medicine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, paving the way for AI solutions in the Emergency Department.

Prof Wong Tien Yin, who is Chair Professor and Founding Head of Tsinghua Medicine, Tsinghua University was the sixth keynote speaker. He called for educators and healthcare professional to look beyond existing frameworks by transforming medical education into an AI-integrated model, not just AI-assisted. He also imagines a new career in medicine: Clinician-AI Scientists.

Last and certainly not the least was Prof Sung’s keynote address which outlined 14 Position Statements of the Singapore AI for Gastroenterology Working Group. He hopes that we will arrive at a stage in patient care where AI is trusted, legal, safe, fair, and non-discriminatory of the patient.

After a full day of invigorating speeches and thought-provoking discourse, conference speakers and guests were treated to a delightful reception at the School plaza. With full minds and stomachs, they look forward to the second day of iAIM 2023.

Day 2 Highlights :

Despite being a Sunday morning, attendees packed the auditorium for another day of thought-provoking insights on AI-driven diagnostics, machine learning, surgical breakthroughs, patient-centric approaches and medical education revamp.

iAIM Day 2 Keynote Crowd

Day 2 of iAIM2023 started with an energising talk with Prof Prateek Sharma, President-elect of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.  He shared with the audience what AI can do in Gastroenterology, to reduce missed-rate, improve endoscopy quality, documentation and clinical care coordination as well as education

This was followed by Prof Dean Ho, Director of NUS Institute of Digital Medicine (WisDM)  highlighting the exciting work on using powerful AI-based approach to achieve life-saving patient outcomes in oncology and harnessing patient data to optimise care.  

The parallel symposiums on “Evidence of Clinical Benefits of AI tools” (Symposium 4), “AI in Patient-centered care : The human touch” (Symposium 5) “and Affordable AI for Medicine” (Symposium 6) were well attended.  Speakers at each symposium shared their perspectives, projects and case-studies on the different aspects of how AI impacts healthcare.

Attendees learnt more about how AI can transform the future health system with Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, Executive Director of MOH Office of Healthcare Transformation (MOHT).  He outlined how AI can help to make the big moves needed in future health for better outcomes. This includes using AI to work with individuals and groups to adopt and sustain healthy behaviours and treatment, enhance health professional enablement, develop precision public health to keep the population healthy and disease burden down and develop enhanced approaches for mental health.

The last keynote on Day 2 saw Prof Tao Da Cheng of Sydney University extrapolating the profound impact of deep learning, driven by vision foundation models and enabling precise quantitative motor assessments.

Having learnt much about how AI can be used in healthcare throughout the conference, the second Panel Discussion tackled hard questions of what is needed in medical education and training for future healthcare providers to keep pace with the AI revolution.  Associate Professor Michelle Jong, Group Chief Education Officer of NHG and the President of the National Healthcare Group College, Professor Wong Tien Yin, Chair Professor and Founding Head, Tsinghua Medicine, Tsinghua University, and Professor Simon Kitto of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU highlighted how this will require change at the core and from the bottom, a strong will and buy-in from leadership and all stakeholders.

Day 2 ended on a high note with the Best Poster and Best Oral Presentation Awards.  6 winners were selected from 77 quality submissions.  Congratulations to the winners!

Day 3 Highlights

It is the last day of iAIM 2023 and attendees’ thirst for knowledge remains unabated, eager on their quest to soak up fascinating perspectives from AI thought leaders and experts.

Day 3 commenced with Dr Aleksandra Mojsilovic, Head of Foundations of Trustworthy AI, IBM Research, the last keynote speaker of the conference. A renowned scientist, she provided a thorough exploration into Trustworthy, Safe and Beneficial Foundation Models.

Shifting away from the format of the first two days, the rest of the conference comprised a series of workshops and tutorials to facilitate deeper conversations for smaller breakout groups. The discussions that ensued revolved around “AI for Ageless Ageing,” “Aligning Large Language Models and Medicine,” “Explainable AI and Mātauranga Māori For Diagnosis and Prognosis in Mental Health,” “Intensive Care Unit Smart Brain,” “Harnessing the Power of Large Language Models in Clinical Medicine,” and “Innovations in Life Science Tools and Applications in Genomic Analysis and Imaging”.

The workshops and tutorials were highly subscribed, with the respective speakers bringing their different perspectives to the table and fielding questions on how to perceive AI and utilise it for the betterment of society and healthcare.  

Although iAIM 2023 has successfully come to an end, the many takeaways from the event will encourage attendees to continue reflecting on the nuances of interacting with AI in medicine. The organisers are especially pleased that iAIM2023 has paved the way for exciting collaborations in AI for Medicine and healthcare. Dean of LKCMedicine Professor Joseph Sung was interviewed by CNA938 on the last day of the iAIM 2023. You may access the interview here.

These sentiments were reiterated by Chairman of LKCMedicine Governing Board Lim Chuan Poh who noted, “The topic of [the conference] is a very important and timely one because AI is pervasive in all aspects of our lives. It is important, especially for Singapore, to harness the latest technology to make life better and make things more productive.”

iAIM 2023 received good media coverage. You may read more about the conference highlights from the list here and Guest of Honour Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng’s social media post.