Will Doctors Become Obsolete as Technology Takes Over?
The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has opened the possibility of robots taking over labor across various industries.
An excellent example is chatbots replacing humans in customer service. Further, content creators have been worrying over the fact that ChatGPT could render them obsolete. AI can do translation, data entry, and technical writing.
If these jobs are in danger, how about the highest levels of professions, such as doctors? Will robots take over doctors’ jobs, too?
In this article, we will discuss the possibility of technology fully taking over the healthcare system. It no longer seems like an impossibility, after all—who could have predicted that people would be chatting amiably and productively with robots today?
Technology and Healthcare
Technology has long been part of healthcare. It has been leveraged to great advantage in diagnostics, treatment, and even preventative care.
The healthtech industry saw unprecedented change during the pandemic as telemedicine became a necessity. Years later, many patients still prefer to stay at home and confer with doctors through video calls as a practical and safer choice.
The medical industry is constantly evolving and innovating to provide top-notch patient care. But despite the use of technology, doctors have always been a significant part of the process from diagnosis to treatment. Technology has only ever just augmented their workflow to make things easier, faster, and more convenient.
Today, the healthtech industry consists of the following:
- Remote patient monitoring – Medical records are stored on the cloud, making it easy for doctors to access patient data and monitor their health.
- Virtual and augmented reality – Training in the medical field has gone virtual, with AR and VR being used in workshops and training sessions.
- Automatic billing – Patients no longer have to endure long queues for payments and claims in hospitals and medical facilities because of healthtech.
- Cybersecurity – Now that most patient data is stored on the cloud, it is vital for medical institutions to beef up their cybersecurity and protect their privacy.
ISI Technology has been at the forefront of these medical technologies and more.
Brand-new technology will continue to impact the healthcare industry. And so far, none of these developments indicate that doctors will soon be obsolete.
However, constant innovation and technological inventions will introduce more automation, high-tech machinery, and robotics to the industry. Healthcare technology trends for 2023 include the use of AI and machine learning (ML) to help physicians with the diagnosis and monitoring of patients.
Will AI and ML Make Doctors Obsolete?
AI in the medical field refers to computer technology that simulates the intelligent behavior and critical thinking skills of a human doctor. It is digital technology or artificial intelligence that is being used for many medical trends in healthcare market or healthtech.
There are two types of AI used in medicine:
- Virtual AI – a system that augments electronic health recording and is used as a guide in making decisions for treatment
- Physical AI – refers to robots that help doctors during surgeries and other medical procedures
Machine learning refers to the use of algorithms and statistical models to make inferences.
Practical applications of ML in the healthcare system include the following:
- Disease diagnosis
- Personalized medication
- Clinical trial and research
- Drug discovery and manufacturing
- Behavioral modification
- Smart health records
- Data collection
- Outbreak prediction and prevention
The question now is: are doctors becoming obsolete? It’s quite clear that in most of the above examples, doctors are crucial parts of all healthcare processes. Technology is just there to simplify procedures.
Reasons Why Technology Won’t Replace Doctors
Many laborers have been replaced in the assembly line by machines that can put together a product much faster. Machines also provide consistency with fewer to zero mistakes.
Technology takes manual tasks like data entry off human hands so they can focus on more complex decision-making.
The fear that doctors will be replaced by robots is unfounded—at least for now. Here are some practical reasons why:
1. Human Interaction is Vital
Patients may not be comfortable sharing their health concerns with a robot. While experts acknowledge the possibility that technology will dominate medical facilities in the distant future, it’s not happening today or tomorrow as patients very much need human interaction. For now, AI and ML only provide complementary functions that make a doctor’s job easier.
2. More Studies are Needed to Ensure AI’s Accuracy
So far, there is no unified study about the efficacy of AI in clinical trials in the medical field. Various studies report different results, and there is no consensus on the best way to leverage it in diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention.
One conclusion from many studies is that the most accurate diagnosis is made by a doctor with the help of AI. But pending a comprehensive, worldwide study that indubitably crowns AI as better in diagnosis and treatment recommendation, all healthcare decisions must still be made by educated and highly trained doctors.
Humans are able to deliver information with much more empathy and care for human health and patient outcomes than robots. Complex diagnoses and treatments will be outlined in an informative yet compassionate manner by human doctors—this is something that not even the most sophisticated AI can learn, let alone execute in a way that patients require.
4. AI Lacks Creativity
Patient care requires creativity. When one treatment isn’t working, or a complex situation arises, a doctor must think outside the box. It entails science-based thinking and execution that requires years of education and experience that AI cannot emulate. After all, AI and algorithms process information linearly and only based on data they already have on hand.
5. Complex Technologies Don’t Function on Their Own
AI and ML, at least for now, cannot function on their own. Complex technologies need intelligent professionals to operate. Physicians need to input complicated data into the system, and only then can AI and ML begin working to make an accurate diagnosis.
6. Some Physical Tasks Need Human Hands
Can you imagine a robot doing the Heimlich maneuver and CPR? There are just some medical situations that require a human touch.
Reasons Why Technology Can Replace Doctors (Partially?)
Just as a thought exercise, the opposite is worth considering. Can doctors become obsolete one day because of technology?
1. Technology is Always Evolving
Decades ago, nobody thought it would be possible for AI to write an entire news story with a corresponding photo it created on its own. But that’s where we are today.
Today, AI can make medical diagnoses with the guidance of physicians and medical personnel. With further developments in healthcare technology, it is not impossible for AI to one day make highly accurate diagnoses and make treatment plans and recommendations with no human intervention.
2. Clean Surgical Process
In 2019, robots successfully performed surgery on a pig. The computer-generated devices took longer to complete the procedure compared to doctors, but their sutures were more precise and better overall.
Robotics is a quickly-evolving field, and in a few years, there’s no telling what kind of developments will lead patients to trust robots to perform complex medical procedures from beginning to end.
3. Faster Diagnosis
AI can already make quick diagnoses based on available data and existing scientific processes. In contrast, a doctor may need to do multiple exams and analyze the results before making a decision, which takes a lot of time.
Why Choose When You Can Have Both?
Some fear doctors may become obsolete because AI has demonstrated that it can do many things better than humans. But for now, physicians and technology can complement each other. In fact, physicians get better results when they make decisions based on AI-processed data.
The future of the medical industry is bright, given the combination of professional touch and technology.
If you want to take your healthcare processes to the next level, contact ISI Technology for the best medical-related software for all your healthcare technology needs.