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Will physicians be replaced by AI in the near future?
I'd be more concerned about being replaced by nurses/mid-levels, then you can worry about AI (;
 

aldol16

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Would you ever let a robot operate on you when given the choice between a robot and a person? Even if you see stats showing that robots have a lower error rate? Some specialties might be replaced by AI like pathology or radiology but I think AI is still a long ways off from replacing most specialties.
 

enchantediris

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Watch this video of top-of-the-line robots attempting to walk, and feel a bit better about your future :D

For a non-tongue-in-cheek answer, I do think AI still has quite a ways to go before replacing human physicians. One problem AI faces today is the stability-plasticity dilemma, in which the system has to be flexible and plastic enough to learn new knowledge, but stable enough to retain old knowledge. Too much plasticity means that new knowledge will overwrite old knowledge, and too much stability means that it is too difficult to learn new knowledge.
 

Mad Jack

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No. Not in my working lifetime. Anyone who thinks physicians can be replaced by AI doesn't understand the nuances of the job. Is a machine going to tell the patient they have cancer and help them explore their options with regard to treatment? Is AI going to place their central lines, and determine when those lines should be placed? Is Google going to be able to perform competent physical exams and histories? 90% of diagnoses can be made on H&P alone, and I don't see machines physically examining my patients any time soon.
 
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Gauss44

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Nobody wants their precious baby delivered by a robot.
I can't imagine a computer doing a pap smear, either...

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This shows how important it is to get the right people in office/in charge so that poor people on Medicare and Medicaid aren't stuck with robots delivering their babies due to insurance policies trying to make/save money.

Hopefully this will not be one of those scenarios like people who are poor and disabled (perhaps poor due to being disabled) over-using the ER because they rely on public transportation, in Boston "The Ride," that is consistently 2 hours late, making keeping appointments nearly impossible (in combination with other issues). Or are so far behind on their medical bills that primary care will not see them anymore, so they have to use the ER which by law cannot refuse to see patients. My point is that there is a lot that most mainstream people don't understand or care about... ----> Hopefully AI delivering babies, will not join this list.

IMO, it's the poor that could be most threatened by AI.
 
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numbersloth

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I'd be more concerned about being replaced by nurses/mid-levels, then you can worry about AI (;
Are there certain fields in particular where you foresee this being a problem or do you think the threat is ubiquitous throughout medicine?
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Are there certain fields in particular where you foresee this being a problem or do you think the threat is ubiquitous throughout medicine?
Search the many, many, many threads on this forum on this very topic.
 
Jan 15, 2015
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Are there certain fields in particular where you foresee this being a problem or do you think the threat is ubiquitous throughout medicine?
Take a look at anesthesiology, CRNA's are actively competing with MD's/DO's for jobs. Why pay for a doctor when you can pay a CRNA 60% less to do the same job. I hear APN's are slowly creeping into minor surgery as well.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Take a look at anesthesiology, CRNA's are actively competing with MD's/DO's for jobs. Why pay for a doctor when you can pay a CRNA 60% less to do the same job. I hear APN's are slowly creeping into minor surgery as well.
People will convince themselves that a nurse practitioner can provide equal or better care than a doctor because of the whole "mind of a doctor, heart of a nurse" bull****, but no one is going to let a nurse perform surgery on them (except maybe very minor skin surgery). When push comes to shove and you need someone cutting you open, almost everyone will demand the most highly trained individual to do it.
 
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People will convince themselves that a nurse practitioner can provide equal or better care than a doctor because of the whole "mind of a doctor, heart of a nurse" bull****, but no one is going to let a nurse perform surgery on them (except maybe very minor skin surgery). When push comes to shove and you need someone cutting you open, almost everyone will demand the most highly trained individual to do it.
I'm just the messenger. I bet a century ago, people thought the same about nurses prescribing medicines and having their own practice. Yet, here we are.
 

sliceofbread136

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Once we have computer that can actually read EKGs or an EMR where I don't have to click 18 trillion different things to get the info I need then I will actually start believing this is a possibility in our life time.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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I'm just the messenger. I bet a century ago, people thought the same about nurses prescribing medicines and having their own practice. Yet, here we are.
Having an NP take care of your sniffles and cough is different than having an NP cut out your gallbladder. I'm willing to bet that even the most ardent NP supporting patient would still refuse to see anyone but a surgeon if they needed any operation bigger than lumps and bumps. There is a disconnect with having someone provide primary care services and their potential to harm you because it's action at a distance. Having someone all up in you is so intimate and directly scary that they will always want the most trained person available.

Unless the government switches to some sort of system where they have NPs performing surgery on the homeless for free, I don't think you'll see NPs practicing independently as surgeons.
 
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Having an NP take care of your sniffles and cough is different than having an NP cut out your gallbladder. I'm willing to bet that even the most ardent NP supporting patient would still refuse to see anyone but a surgeon if they needed any operation bigger than lumps and bumps. There is a disconnect with having someone provide primary care services and their potential to harm you because it's action at a distance. Having someone all up in you is so intimate and directly scary that they will always want the most trained person available.

Unless the government switches to some sort of system where they have NPs performing surgery on the homeless for free, I don't think you'll see NPs practicing independently as surgeons.
Playing devil's advocate, I think you might be surprised that some would be willing to have a surgery performed from an 'experienced nurse surgeon' given the right price. What would be the point of having a surgery, if at the end of the day, your family can't eat. Ideally, everybody wants the most trained professional to perform their surgery; realistically, they can't. I'm not saying we will ever see a nurse perform heart/brain surgery, not at their current level of training - not in our lifetime. This is all speculation, of course.
 

GypsyHummus

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No. Not in my working lifetime. Anyone who thinks physicians can be replaced by AI doesn't understand the nuances of the job. Is a machine going to tell the patient they have cancer and help them explore their options with regard to treatment?
Dr. Robot: Beep Boop, you currently have type two diabetes.
Patient: Dr. Robot, is there anything that can be done?
Dr. Robot: Wait one moment. Cumputing. I have compiled a list of several activities and low glycemic index foods that have been proven to reduce A1C counts over a 3 month time span. Printing. Sending to email. Are there any other inquires you have?
Patient: Yes, what about medication?
Dr. Robot: Analyzing. There are many medications that could help to control the symptoms of diabetes. Compiling a list now. I will write a prescription for the recommended one and you can choose to pick up the medication or not.

AI can very easily replace a doctor, tho in the short term, Im much more worried about NPs and PAs.
 
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GypsyHummus

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You'd be surprised. Especially if it means the procedure would cost thousands of dollars less.

Give the schools 10 more years, and some of the NPs will start making noise about wanting to do "Minor Surgery" like removing appendixes.

Having an NP take care of your sniffles and cough is different than having an NP cut out your gallbladder. I'm willing to bet that even the most ardent NP supporting patient would still refuse to see anyone but a surgeon if they needed any operation bigger than lumps and bumps. There is a disconnect with having someone provide primary care services and their potential to harm you because it's action at a distance. Having someone all up in you is so intimate and directly scary that they will always want the most trained person available.

Unless the government switches to some sort of system where they have NPs performing surgery on the homeless for free, I don't think you'll see NPs practicing independently as surgeons.
 

Mad Jack

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Dr. Robot: Beep Boop, you currently have type two diabetes.
Patient: Dr. Robot, is there anything that can be done?
Dr. Robot: Wait one moment. Cumputing. I have compiled a list of several activities and low glycemic index foods that have been proven to reduce A1C counts over a 3 month time span. Printing. Sending to email. Are there any other inquires you have?
Patient: Yes, what about medication?
Dr. Robot: Analyzing. There are many medications that could help to control the symptoms of diabetes. Compiling a list now. I will write a prescription for the recommended one and you can choose to pick up the medication or not.

AI can very easily replace a doctor, tho in the short term, Im much more worried about NPs and PAs.
Yeah, I'm sure patients would be all for that. Unfortunately, we've found that patients are very bad at taking care of themselves or handling objective information. Much of the job of a physician is the humanistic portion of medicine- delivering news in the proper way, convincing patients to do things that are in their best interest even though they're highly resistant, providing comfort with certain diagnoses and helping explore a patient's options in light of their values, goals, and outlook, etc.
 

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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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So the vast majority of them are basically PAs, and this one is going to get to do skin surgery? Or did I miss something completely?
On the NHS site, it looks like they can also do procedures such as carpal tunnel releases and who knows what else. Generally they do really minor stuff, but give it time!
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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On the NHS site, it looks like they can also do procedures such as carpal tunnel releases and who knows what else. Generally they do really minor stuff, but give it time!
Holy crap. I read it really fast while my daughter was on the toilet, so I missed that. How does their system work? Do they get to choose their providers, or are they assigned? I can't imagine that working here where patients have more autonomy.
 

Planes2Doc

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I took a class in undergrad called Sustainable Innovation. We studied this topic quite a bit. There will always be factors keeping humans and old technology in the loop. Think about it, so many more things would be 100% automated by now, such as fast food ordering, etc etc...
 

Mad Jack

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Holy crap. I read it really fast while my daughter was on the toilet, so I missed that. How does their system work? Do they get to choose their providers, or are they assigned? I can't imagine that working here where patients have more autonomy.
Surgical care practitioner

Usually it's assigned and patients can object, but they'll have a much longer wait.
 
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Mad Jack

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I took a class in undergrad called Sustainable Innovation. We studied this topic quite a bit. There will always be factors keeping humans and old technology in the loop. Think about it, so many more things would be 100% automated by now, such as fast food ordering, etc etc...
We're getting really close to fast food ordering being completely automated. There's several places in my state with automated kiosks where the only humans working are the ones preparing the food.
 

Planes2Doc

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We're getting really close to fast food ordering being completely automated. There's several places in my state with automated kiosks where the only humans working are the ones preparing the food.
I'm a fast food lover, and haven't seen it yet. Interesting! Which restaurants?

For any airline geeks out there, the now defunct airline, Ansett Australia, had a flight engineer position in their Boeing 767-200 aircraft (these were two person cockpit crews) due to union rules. The flight engineer panel did absolutely nothing. So it took a while to phase out flight engineers, which no longer exist in modern commercial aviation. The same thing here in healthcare.
 

GypsyHummus

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Yeah, we are about 10 years away before NPs start literally poking around.

They are already bleeding into the specialties like cardio and endocrinology. Why the MD/DO lobbying bodies are not doing anything about this encroachment problem is beyond me.

Holy crap. I read it really fast while my daughter was on the toilet, so I missed that. How does their system work? Do they get to choose their providers, or are they assigned? I can't imagine that working here where patients have more autonomy.
 

Mad Jack

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I'm a fast food lover, and haven't seen it yet. Interesting! Which restaurants?

For any airline geeks out there, the now defunct airline, Ansett Australia, had a flight engineer position in their Boeing 767-200 aircraft (these were two person cockpit crews) due to union rules. The flight engineer panel did absolutely nothing. So it took a while to phase out flight engineers, which no longer exist in modern commercial aviation. The same thing here in healthcare.
So far just Wendy's and the burger place at my old undergrad, but I'm sure there'll be more to follow. The Wendy's obviously still has people working the drive-thru, but the burger spot at my undergrad is totally automated since it's all walk-ups.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Yeah, we are about 10 years away before NPs start literally poking around.

They are already bleeding into the specialties like cardio and endocrinology. Why the MD/DO lobbying bodies are not doing anything about this encroachment problem is beyond me.
I still don't think it will progress beyond basic skin stuff here. Patients have more autonomy in the US, and in my limited experience working with surgeons and PAs/NPs for 10 years, people seem totally okay with midlevels poking then and even doing minor things, but as soon as it's time for something "serious," they want the attending.

Like I said, my experience is limited, so I may just have a skewed sample.
 

GypsyHummus

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Oh, it will start out small for sure. Doing a skin tag here, removing a foreign body there, even doing an ingrown toenail. But when people find out that they can still be called doctor "DNP" and do 95% of what a cardiologist does, they will go the path of least resistance.

And with the costs of healthcare rising and the whispers of socialized medicine seeping into the conscious of American Helathcare system, u gotta cut costs somehow.

I still don't think it will progress beyond basic skin stuff here. Patients have more autonomy in the US, and in my limited experience working with surgeons and PAs/NPs for 10 years, people seem totally okay with midlevels poking then and even doing minor things, but as soon as it's time for something "serious," they want the attending.

Like I said, my experience is limited, so I may just have a skewed sample.
 

sliceofbread136

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Dr. Robot: Beep Boop, you currently have type two diabetes.
Patient: Dr. Robot, is there anything that can be done?
Dr. Robot: Wait one moment. Cumputing. I have compiled a list of several activities and low glycemic index foods that have been proven to reduce A1C counts over a 3 month time span. Printing. Sending to email. Are there any other inquires you have?
Patient: Yes, what about medication?
Dr. Robot: Analyzing. There are many medications that could help to control the symptoms of diabetes. Compiling a list now. I will write a prescription for the recommended one and you can choose to pick up the medication or not.

AI can very easily replace a doctor, tho in the short term, Im much more worried about NPs and PAs.
um ok sure if you already have a diagnosis and one that is common enough to already have algorithmic treatment. An undifferentiated complaint is going to be far more complicated, even if it is a routine one
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Oh, it will start out small for sure. Doing a skin tag here, removing a foreign body there, even doing an ingrown toenail. But when people find out that they can still be called doctor "DNP" and do 95% of what a cardiologist does, they will go the path of least resistance.

And with the costs of healthcare rising and the whispers of socialized medicine seeping into the conscious of American Helathcare system, u gotta cut costs somehow.
Well I mean if you're talking about cutting costs, as soon as NPs and MDs are paid the same, I would think NPs would start to go away. Who wants to pay an inferiority trained person the same as a BC surgeon? If the salary is the same, but NPs cost more by ordering more tests and consults, why would they use NPs?
 

sliceofbread136

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I'm honestly ok with nps/pas doing some routine non complicated surgeries with the ability to call a physicians for complications and their management. I mean if you do the same relatively simple procedure your whole life you'd get pretty good at it I'd guess?

What really seems dangerous to me is NPs managing patient without physician oversight for things that are not heavily algorithm driven. I feel like things really get missed
 
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