Patient Empowerment

The empowerment of patients is a well-established practice in the treatment of diabetes. Measuring your own blood sugar and adjusting your medication to the self-monitored data is common practice. For patients with high blood pressure this patient empowerment is less prevalent. A medical study carried out in Valencia (Spain) by Martínez-Ibáñez et al. (2024) has tested the effects of such a self-monitoring and self-medication experiment.
The results publishes in (JAMA) gave rise to considerable attention in the profession as the empowerment of patients is one way out of the likely increasing shortage of medical professionals in aging societies. Whereas other studies found that total costs to the medical system might increase, the study in Spain provides evidence of the cost-reduction effect of such an empowerment. 24 months after the beginning of the trial. After the establishment of a “medication based on an individualized prearranged plan used in primary care” the self-administering participants achieved a significant decrease in their blood pressure that lasted until the end of the study after 2 years. The drop-outs of the study seem to follow a random pattern.
The conclusion gives support to the potential of patient empowerment in the widespread treatment of higher blood pressure beyond the regular visits of medical doctors. The monitoring of changes in lifestyle add to this to keep the costs of health care under control in aging societies.

AI and PS

AI like in ChatGPT is guided by so-called prompts. After the entry of “what is AI” the machine returns a definition of itself. If you continue the chat with ChatGPT and enter: “Is it useful for public services” (PS), you receive an opinion of AI on its own usefulness (of course positive) and some examples in which AI in the public services have a good potential to improve the state of affairs. The AI ChatGPT is advocating AI for the PS for mainly 4 reasons: (1) efficiency purposes; (2) personalisation of services; (3) citizen engagement; (4) citizen satisfaction. (See image below). The perspective of employees of the public services is not really part of the answer by ChatGPT. This is a more ambiguous part of the answer and would probably need more space and additional explicit prompts to solicit an explicit answer on the issue. With all the know issues of concern of AI like gender bias or biased data as input, the introduction of AI in public services has to be accompanied by a thorough monitoring process. The legal limits to applications of AI are more severe in public services as the production of official documents is subject to additional security concerns.
This does certainly not preclude the use of AI in PS, but it requires more ample and rigorous testing of AI-applications in the PS. Such testing frameworks are still in development even in informatics as the sources of bias a manifold and sometimes tricky to detect even for experts in the field. Prior training with specific data sets (for example of thousands of possible prompts) has to be performed or sets of images for testing adapted to avoid bias. The task is big, but step by step building and testing promise useful results. It remains a challenge to find the right balance between the risks and the potentials of AI in PS.