Below is a summary for the article : My doctor is an algorithm: ‘Medicine has always welcomed new technology’ by independent
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The ‘good GP’ we know will always know his patients well; their medical history, their personality, details about their family and their foibles, and will retain this background information and call on it when assessing patients.
Unlike the good GP, who may be overworked, and stressed by the demands of a busy clinic, computers with built-in AI have an almost unlimited capacity to store information in medical records, and to recognise patterns that may have been missed by the GP. They are also excellent at measuring things, such as blood pressure, and analysing results, such as a routine blood test.
The role of specialist medical consultants – not just GPs – is also coming under threat too from sophisticated ‘deep learning systems’ which are already outperforming doctors in specialised areas of medicine, says Professor Barry O’Sullivan, director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at the Department of Computer Science, in University College Cork, and a leading AI researcher.
Patients key in symptoms, and AI determines how urgent each case is, and whether the user should be told to go straight to A&E, the chemist or simply go home to bed.
This is an area that AI excels, as it is very good at looking at medical data and finding specific treatments for patients which can, in some cases, even save their lives.
Organisations such as Cancer Commons have assisted cancer patients survive conditions that were regarded as fatal in their situations by combining AI with extremely rich and individual-level data,” says Prof O’Sullivan.
“It is less useful for other dimensions of medical care: contextualising findings in the context of the patient’s life, moving from recognising a pattern to agreeing a narrative between doctor and patient, and providing reassurance.”
“AI is also less useful for picking up on the unexpected elements in a patient’s presentation: noting, for example, that a patient presenting with a lesion on his ear also has swollen ankles. Or noticing that someone with chest pain smells strongly of alcohol at 11 in the morning and might have an alcohol problem. Or noticing that a woman who comes to have a prescription renewed brings along her child, whom the nurse remembers has missed a vaccination, and can receive it today.”
“Medicine has always welcomed new technologies and benefited hugely from them: stethoscopes, x-ray machines, MRI. But these tools amplify the effectiveness of healthcare professionals, rather than replacing them.”
“There is a requirement for the GP to conduct face-to-face consultation to develop a rapport, to physically examine a patient and read nonverbal cues.”
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