I have always been fascinated by technology and its application in healthcare. As a trained physician, entrepreneur, and advocate of science-based healthcare delivery, I feel like I must keep up with my domain's disruptions and evolving trends.
For this reason, I keep attending health tech conferences just like I did the other day!
Then- at the conference, I noticed something which touched me deeply, even though it wasn't uncommon to me!
Indeed, I was the only trained physician entrepreneur, while the rest were from the tech industry and investors. The conference showcased many inventions, including solutions for performing differential diagnosis, but the vibe seemed to indicate no need for physicians!
Healthcare, with its market size and problems, is the perfect candidate for technical penetration.
But can we take physicians out of the equation?
We are getting immersed in buzzwords like big data, machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, the Blockchain, Telehealth, Wearable technology, and so on.
This video is one such example:
The Implications of Health Tech on Patients and Physicians
Physicians are overwhelmed by heavy loads of mandates and ethical clichés, while patients have no healthcare even if taxpayers pay the coverage. Everyone seems to be preoccupied with the concept of "survival." While at it, politicians always take the shortcut and pass piecemeal solutions which fail time and again!
On the other hand, corporations have a very different goal related to data mining, owning the personal information of patients and physicians who are walking a different path. Big data as a part of the corporate mission is fundamental to ensure the vast pool of data required for robotic medicine and artificial intelligence, which can replace the human factor in the future.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, or deep learning in the broader sense are based on learning data representations instead of task-specific algorithms. Education can be supervised, semi-supervised or unsupervised, but needs extensive data to function. The more data we have, the more perfection we can bring in robotic medicine.
In my previous articles, I have already mentioned that data is a valuable asset in healthcare, amounting to $88 billion in the USA.
How would it be if the corporations had to pay patients and physicians for their use?
But currently, they don't have to, and they want to keep it that way!
How? — Through propaganda, diversion, and redefinition.
Healthcare is expensive, and most Americans believe we can only achieve it through 3rd-party payers. To deliver state-of-the-art care, corporations need data and believe securing their identity is enough to ensure privacy. All data security breaches, therefore, are the fault of the hacker!
Millennials are ready to put their complete trust in technology even though they have complaints about the system. They believe that technology is a solution but are unaware of the nuances and deeper meaning of the utility and sharing of their information.
Because their attention is diverted from the real problem (we will call it a disease, in this case) to focus on symptoms. The healthcare coverage problem is also a "symptom."
In contrast, the disease disconnects from alternate interest groups treading towards robotic medicine and cookie-cutter healthcare.
Technology is taking healthcare on a path of deep learning which will bring a time when a person would be able to diagnose, recommend treatment and even perform procedures without the formal training of a licensed physician.
Physicians are dealing with different diversions and believe all problems revolve around reimbursements and insurance companies. But they don't realize that they can be pushed aside from their title of 'physicians' to so-called 'artist healers.'
The attitude is detrimental to the genuine art of medical practice as a profession and the values upon which medical practice is built.
The Disconnect of Physicians
I realized at the healthcare conference that mainstream physicians are increasingly getting disconnected from the status of their industry domain. I could also make out the vacuum of profiteering that dominates the healthcare industry as a whole.
Patients have to change their attitudes and come out of their passive stance. They need to realize that they have all the power and control to take ownership of their health information and step outside the technology trap.
Undoubtedly, physicians' and patient's attentions are diverted from the source of the problem.
Insurance companies desperately seek patient and physician data to back up their excuses for premium hikes and legitimizing lower reimbursements based on value and quality of care, something which the insurance companies have created in the first place!
Corporations also need the physician and patient data to be utilized by non-medical entities in developing algorithms to create cookie-cutter medicine that, with monopoly, complements agencies' needs like insurance carriers.
Governments in countries like Britain are trying to resolve the healthcare problems by integrating artificial intelligence, which can perform most of the physician duties. The UK national health system has its crises and is pushing the current administration to incorporate machine learning in medical service delivery.
Corporate medicine has become the HMO ( Health Maintenance Organization) of the 21st Century, with the most significant differentiators being lack of human touch and empathy. We are walking on a risky path that can result in loss of values, humanity, compassion, and personalization of care.
Are physicians on the way to extinction?
Indeed; If not now, in the coming years, that will be inevitable If they don't change their attitude.
Physicians need to engage and claim their industry domain. Technology is just a tool, while the patient is human and the physician is the healer.
Corporate greed, government bureaucracy, and human hypocrisy give rise to opportunities for alternate interests and profiteers to use the most sacred asset of humans as a profit-making tool. It is hypocritical to say profiters are killing the healthcare system as every stakeholder should be rewarded for contributing to human wellness.
#Technology #Healthcare #Medicalpractice #Physicians
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