Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Diabetes Care: A Position Statement of the Italian Association of Medical Diabetologists

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jun 22;22(6):e16922. doi: 10.2196/16922.


Since the last decade, most of our daily activities have become digital. Digital health takes into account the ever-increasing synergy between advanced medical technologies, innovation, and digital communication. Thanks to machine learning, we are not limited anymore to a descriptive analysis of the data, as we can obtain greater value by identifying and predicting patterns resulting from inductive reasoning. Machine learning software programs that disclose the reasoning behind a prediction allow for "what-if" models by which it is possible to understand if and how, by changing certain factors, one may improve the outcomes, thereby identifying the optimal behavior. Currently, diabetes care is facing several challenges: the decreasing number of diabetologists, the increasing number of patients, the reduced time allowed for medical visits, the growing complexity of the disease both from the standpoints of clinical and patient care, the difficulty of achieving the relevant clinical targets, the growing burden of disease management for both the health care professional and the patient, and the health care accessibility and sustainability. In this context, new digital technologies and the use of artificial intelligence are certainly a great opportunity. Herein, we report the results of a careful analysis of the current literature and represent the vision of the Italian Association of Medical Diabetologists (AMD) on this controversial topic that, if well used, may be the key for a great scientific innovation. AMD believes that the use of artificial intelligence will enable the conversion of data (descriptive) into knowledge of the factors that "affect" the behavior and correlations (predictive), thereby identifying the key aspects that may establish an improvement of the expected results (prescriptive). Artificial intelligence can therefore become a tool of great technical support to help diabetologists become fully responsible of the individual patient, thereby assuring customized and precise medicine. This, in turn, will allow for comprehensive therapies to be built in accordance with the evidence criteria that should always be the ground for any therapeutic choice.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; big data analytics; clinical decision making; diabetes management; health care.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence / standards*
  • Association
  • Big Data*
  • Clinical Decision-Making / methods*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Machine Learning
  • Physicians
  • Precision Medicine