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AI and Healthcare: Can AI Really Replace Doctors?

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We’ve heard so much about artificial intelligence and its taking over industries. Of course, improvements in healthcare are welcome for a better life for humanity.

After all, the medical field has seen tremendous improvements since we learned to cure the first disease. What’s one more change?

But what of the premise that AI is replacing previously dependable workers? Sure, some people will soon lose their jobs to AI. But will doctors be part of people?

Let’s talk about that and some.

Where AI is Better Than Humans

To see if AI can replace doctors, we need to know what it can do better than humans. According to McKinsey and Company, AI can change the delivery of health services.

Let’s take a look at that.

1. Disease Diagnostics

Diagnosing a disease early enough is a challenge most medical professionals can relate to. You can’t detect every disease as soon as it turns up in a patient’s body.

But that’s the key to finding a faster medical solution—enter AI. Artificial intelligence is enabling a quicker diagnosis of different ailments for patients.

That’s thanks to the efficiency it creates in the administrative process and the improved diagnostic tools. What’s incredible is how fast and accurate an AI diagnosis is, making the correct diagnosis faster than a human doctor would.

AI cancer screenings, blood tests, and other diagnostic tests are only a few of the ways Ai in healthcare enables the detection of cancer and other diseases.

2. Administration

Data organization is one of the things artificial intelligence does best. It’s also a significant reason AI is one of the most noteworthy inventions of recent times. Not only is the analysis faster, but it’s also more accurate and relevant than when done by humans.

Few other fields generate the amount of data from healthcare providers. These vast swathes of data aren’t always easy to handle. That’s when AI steps in and eases the administrative burden of collecting, organizing, and analyzing this data. Healthcare AI helps organize these data into legible information for future use, making hospital administration easier.

3. Drug Research

New diseases are emerging daily that available drugs can’t effectively deal with. AI is helping develop the next wave of drugs for the medical industry by ensuring accuracy, efficiency, and much-needed knowledge.

BioXcel Therapeutics, a New Haven, Connecticut medical company, uses AI to reinvent existing drugs to treat new or existing diseases.

They also use AI to identify new patients for these innovative drugs. They aren’t the only ones AI is helping discover new uses for drugs.

Berg, a Massachusetts Biotechnology firm, combines Ai with traditional drug research methods to discover milestone drugs. All this serves to show how Ai has transformed drug research.

4. Streamlining Patient Experience

AI is incredibly adept at managing swathes of data, as mentioned before. This ability comes in handy, ensuring the perfect patient experience.

Since hospitals can process patient data faster, they can offer better and more convenient services. That boosts the patient experience since they spend less time in hospital queues waiting for service.

Patient engagement platforms and chatbots also increase doctor-patient interaction, providing better patient support.

Research suggests patients are likely to complete their drug doses with proper follow-up. AI chatbots and other platforms allow an interactive approach to drug administration. That further boosts the patient experience.

5. Medical Training

AI is playing an integral role in teaching the next batch of doctors. Of course, it’s not taking over everything since it still has limitations.

Instead, Ai is helping teach parts of medical training to students. There are examples of an AI tutor surpassing humans in teaching specific details of medical studies.

Having looked at some use cases where AI outperforms humans, let’s see whether it can fully take over their jobs.

Can AI Replace Doctors?

Artificial intelligence’s effect on global workforces is well documented. It makes work more efficient and leads to laying offs as some tasks become redundant. Does the same apply to the healthcare workforce? Can AI replace doctors?

The quick answer is that Ai can’t and will not replace doctors. Albeit not anytime soon. Long after every living person is dead in the future, it might.

Here are the reasons why.

1. Only a Small Portion of Healthcare Can Be Automated

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, healthcare has the least potential for automation. That’s thanks to the specialized roles of health practitioners. The amount of knowledge and detail that goes into healthcare will surely benefit from AI.

However, that won’t be to the extent it declares doctors redundant. According to the MGI, only about 35 percent of hospital time can be automated. That number won’t translate to a direct correlation to the health workforce.

2. The Healthcare Sector Is Already Grappling with Workforce Gaps

Demand for health workers has never been greater in a world facing increasingly diverse health issues. The gap between the needed and the available workforce is only growing.

The adoption of AI will only help reduce this gap. You can’t replace something you don’t have enough of. A perfect example is the forecasted demand for nurses by 2030. There will be about 39 percent more nursing occupations by 2030. Meanwhile, AI can only take up about 10 percent of this number.

3. AI Needs Data to Work

The smartness of AI is such that it improves with each experience. If you’re to have robots taking over the role of doctors, they’ll need a constant stream of data to improve.

How do they deal with a lack of data? Do people’s healthcare pause as Ai looks for the data to serve them? That’s another reason doctors will still provide all the expertise.

4. Robots Can’t Be Empathetic Health Workers

There’s a reason we call someone without feelings a robot. Robots can’t show any empathy despite all the efforts to make them start feeling. A robot won’t empathize with you as a human doctor will.

Sure, it might do some jobs better, such as detecting anomalies faster, but you’ll still want your fellow human talking to you. Something that’s not human won’t relate to what you’re feeling the way another human would.

5. Humans Don’t Really Like Robots

From surveys, humans don’t really like robots. Of course, we love that they make some of our work easier. We love machines, after all. Who wouldn’t want to relax as a robot does all the house chores for them?

But for a robot to come and examine you instead of a doctor? Most people surveyed gave a hell no to that! The research also showed that people would rather spend more money on a human doctor than on a robot with the same expertise level.

Final Thoughts

Will AI replace doctors? NO. However, going by some of the AI benefits we have seen, it will make doctors better at their work.

AI will make their work easier. I don’t think there’s a doctor afraid of AI replacing them. If there is, then their fears are unfounded.

Instead of ending careers and replacing workers, I reckon AI will probably lead to new health professions. So relax, doctors are here to stay.

Are you looking to explore the possibilities of AI in health? Talk to our expert today, and let’s discuss how you can make Ai work for healthcare.

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