AI in Healthcare: Should Doctors Fear of Being Replaced with Robots or Not?

For the last few years, Artificial Intelligence software and innovations have revolutionized the variety of fields such as education, finances, and healthcare. Especially healthcare! Each year, new discoveries and innovations bring many dramatic and rapid changes into the diagnostics and healthcare organizations, so that many people start to believe that Artificial Intelligence will replace doctors along with the entire medical staff in the near future.

Such future may seem bright for some people and depressingly dark for the others.

So, why do people even think that some Artificial Intelligence assistant can replace a high-skilled specialist? The reason lies in the variety of advancements that appear every few months in the healthcare field. Different kinds of software and applications based on machine learning artificial intelligence have already brought enhancement to the health care system and saved costs for medical centers and companies engaged into Healthtech directly or partially.

For example:

  • 3D Printing
  • Robot-Assisted Surgery
  • Diagnosing Software
  • Virtual Nursing Assistants

are the exact innovations that threaten to replace medical specialists with AI technology.

Contents:

AI-Based 3D Printing

Even though 3D printing was originally invented and introduced back to 1981, its active application in medicine started about ten years ago and today it can do wonders. For now, 3D printing is still mainly used for orthopedic procedures, however its capabilities remove boundaries one by one and people already possess the ability to print functional replicas of human tissues and organs using living cells

By using 3D printing in combination with Artificial Intelligence programming, we can print such parts of the human body as:

  • Prosthetic parts
  • Bones
  • Heart valves
  • Synthetic skin
  • Cranium replacement
  • Organs

At the moment, 3D printing allows to create liver cells that can function for more than 40 days, and this technology is just one of many that revolutionize the future of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare.

Artificial Intelligence Robot Surgery

AI-assisted robotic surgeries have proven to be minimally invasive and maximally precise. This example of Artificial Intelligence software allows to perform surgery with as small incisions as it is possible, which can be difficult or impossible to do for a human surgeon.  

What is more, studies reveal that AI-assisted robotic surgeries of different complexity showed five times decrease in the complications occurrence. This is due to the fact that patients don’t have large incisions and heal faster

What makes such AI systems unique is the fact that they are able to use data from previous operations and vastly increase the success of the most difficult following operations.

When it comes to complex surgeries, very soon they will all be performed by AI robots, because of their operating precision comparing to human surgeons. 

Thus, operations on:

  • Heart
  • Eye
  • Brain
  • and other vital parts of the human body will be trusted to AI-operated robots.

Despite the fact that AI robots make precise and small incisions and perform better than human surgeons, they won’t fully replace people, because: 

  1. Even though robotic systems are precise in their actions, they are not 100% protected from occasional malfunctions. 
  2. When programmed for a specific surgery, AI-based robots can miss out the signs of body damage located near the incision, but non-related to the surgery, for example, a tumor or bleeding.
  3. Today and a few years ahead, this technology will remain expensive and not evolved enough to replace human surgeons.

Diagnosing Software

Innovations in the Artificial Intelligence field had already provided healthcare systems that can detect skin cancer at its earliest stage, which is impossible to do for a human being. What’s more, AI-based software can show how the disease will progress within a certain timeframe once it gets the initial information on the patient’s current condition. 

Since such diagnosing and predictive capabilities of an AI learning algorithms beat the human’s ability to predict the progress of the disease, it can partially replace doctors in the future. Artificial Intelligence in medicine becomes outstandingly useful for healthcare, because it:

  1. Increases the chances for patient’s survival;
  2. Reduces expenses on lab testing;
  3. Decreases time spent on one patient;
  4. Creates open databases with a worldwide access.

Despite all the advantages Artificial Intelligence brings, it can never fully replace real doctors. The well-known “gut feeling” that makes doctors choose the right diagnosis cannot be programmed, because it is somehow illogical. In addition, there are cases when a patient has symptoms untypical for the disease, which may not be taken into account by AI and result in the wrong diagnosis. 

Machines programmed to detect and cure certain disease, very likely will fail to recognize an absolutely new disease once it appears, so, in terms of diagnostics, AI will go hand in hand with human doctors, and they will complete each other’s capabilities instead of making attempts to replace one another.

Virtual Nursing Assistants

AI-based nursing staff is one of the most useful and cost saving for healthcare organizations. Virtual nurses are beneficial in many ways, because they are:

  • Available 24/7

Thus, a patient gets around-the-clock professional attention and care.

  • Capable to monitor patient’s health condition

AI assistants respond to changes in the human’s voice or its tone, and can call for help if the person experiences heart attack.

  • Able to prevent hospital readmission

AI assistants can quickly reply to questions regarding prescribed medications and timely remind to take them.

With a special Artificial Intelligence app, a person doesn’t need to go to the hospital, describe their symptoms again and again for getting a doctor’s consultation. Instead, patients can distantly contact the doctor needed, send them gathered health condition information, and receive professional medical advice without leaving their home.

According to the studies, more than 60% of patients said that they would choose AI nurse over a human professional assistant. 

Usage of AI nursing assistants is highly beneficial for people and the healthcare system, and it is very possible that Artificial Intelligence will fully replace nursing staff with the variety of machine learning software and intelligent robots in the future.

Conclusion

When looking on how fast the influence of Artificial Intelligence spreads over the variety of fields, especially healthcare, one can understand why many respected specialists predict that in the near future, Artificial Intelligence will replace doctors and other medical staff. 

Since Artificial Intelligence is based on the machine learning technology, the area of its influence will extend to the levels we cannot even imagine, considering that today people already possess the ability to print functional replicas of human organs.

Healthcare is the exact field where innovations are needed most to make the world cleaned from the deadly diseases and permanent injuries. However, no matter how great those innovations will be, Artificial Intelligence won’t fully replace doctors, at least not with the technology we have today, and definitely not in the nearest 200-300 years.

However, humans required billions of years to evolve to the present condition of Artificial Intelligence and only time will show what the future would be like.