“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.”
William Enders, Apollo 8 astronaut

The AIMed 19 program launched with an Artificial Intelligence in Medicine primer with yours truly, accompanied by Vimla Patel and Ted Shortliffe, and was attended by nearly 200 very engaged attendees. This substantive two-hour AI in medicine “crash course” was an ideal orientation to the fast-paced, three-day program that ensued.

Dedicated workshops including Cognitive Computing, AI in Medical Imaging, and Natural Language Processing in Healthcare opened the mornings of the first two days of the meeting, followed by the opening keynote focused, as usual for AIMed meetings, on patients and their sagas in healthcare. This year was particularly meaningful as it featured a young boy named Colten and his medical journey as described by his mother, as well as the experiences of both my daughter Emma and I. While data scientists will need to remember that data and strings in EHR signify suffering of their fellow human beings, the clinicians still need to retain their human compassion and maintain situational awareness.

This reminder that patients are at the core of why we should be excited about emerging technologies was followed by the erudite Ted Shortliffe with his two-part keynote on present and future lessons of AI in medicine. Sessions such as Subspecialty Highlights and Make It Real had valuable lessons from practitioners in this AI in medicine and healthcare domain. The last day had an exciting agenda of topics not typically discussed at meetings focused on AI in medicine: global health, integrative health, population health, and mental health as well as quantum computing and cloud computing. The keynote address described the overview effect of astronauts (a cognitive shift as a result of viewing the planet Earth from space) with an analogy to our AI in medicine movement. As with previous years, the most popular sessions were the Open Forum with faculty, during which an audience response system is used for attendees to type in their questions, the Abstract Presentations, during which many younger attendees have opportunities to present, and the Shark Tank competition with several startup companies presenting their ideas.

Overall, close to 600 attendees from 20 countries attended AIMed 19, and all share the value of human swarm intelligence during the many networking periods, as well as the social events and meals held throughout the meeting. The Medical Intelligence Group (MIG) also met at AIMed 19 to plan its evolution to a society (Medical Intelligence Society, or MIS) that will focus on clinicians with a data science interest and their education.

Thank you everyone in the AIMed community for your amazing support and good wishes during my heart surgery and convalescence. A special debt of gratitude to my AIMed (Freddy, Andy, AJ, Kirstie, Ruki, Laurie, Graham, and others), MI3 (Debra, Tiffani, Julie, Debbie, Vivian, Sharief, Spyro, Kim, Matt, and others), and MI10 (Pearl, Sam, David, Chris, Mijanou, and others) teams which all carried on agendas without any delay, bringing me comfort and joy.

Have a happy holiday and I hope to see you at the many AIMed events next year as well as AIMed 20 on December 8-12, 2020! Keep an eye out for news and updates in the new year as well as some exciting AIMed announcements!

Anthony Chang, MD, MBA, MPH, MS
Founder, AIMed
Chief Intelligence and Innovation Officer
Medical Director, The Sharon Disney Lund
Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (mi3)
Children’s Hospital of Orange County