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Changing Role of Physicians in 21st Century Healthcare

Originally published by Data Driven Investor on Medium


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

The role of doctors has been typical in their profession, and they used their skills to treat patients. The doctor-patient relationship was one of the most fundamental aspects which stood the test of time. But many forces in the 21st Century are looking to disrupt the relationship and change the roles of doctors.

The paramount among them is the technological advances that have integrated themselves with the healthcare industry, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, sensors, Internet of Things, 3D printing, material science, big data and analytics, real-time social networking, and the increasing number of apps that are giving rise to humongous data clouds. The developments have made historians call the 21st Century the age of “dataism.”

But Physicians are not happy!

The current scenario of healthcare IT technology has disheartened physicians. They cannot trust the system due to a lack of transparency and the inability to adapt the technology to their practice. Even the technologies have not been functionally aligned with standards of care before they have been implemented.

Every initiative follows a top-down approach and bound to come out with unsatisfactory results. This has led to many startups, and profit-seeking companies deliver halfway-developed products to earn quick money. The future seems to be risky as the technologies such as artificial intelligence are advancing by leaps and bounds and promising to be beneficial for healthcare, even though they are not the right fit.

Have we landed in a situation where wrong protocols, wrong algorithms, and wrong technology make the doctor responsible?

This is a consequence of system negligence and going to cost doctors in the long run. The role of doctors as an individual, entity, and society as a whole is changing. We have to face various difficulties and challenges that have to be overcome to deliver proper treatment. We have to adapt, change and pivot and then retreat and challenge to be efficient and productive. All these changes have to be implemented in our daily lives to emerge victoriously.

Medicine is a Similar Field

Every industry or market is made up of its members and stakeholders who are engaged in the day-to-day activities of the specific call. They are the only ones who are qualified and legitimate to bring changes in the scenario and lead to accuracy, safety, and validity.

For example, the development of business software in the banking sector requires the involvement of financial experts from strategies, accountants, and chief financial officers. Only then will the software be suited for the specific industry and prove to be successful.

This trend has always been in practice and will stay the same in the future. Technological changes today are happening faster than before, intending to account for changing needs. As a result, changes are implemented way quicker, and some industries cannot keep pace with them. The trend will give rise to a situation where the untimely implementation of technology will create a vacuum without the oversight of industry experts. Such technology remains open to vulnerability and misuse and will provide room for errors.

We have experienced the same in the past!

Technology has to be developed under the Oversight of Industry Experts

In the present age, technology has become a part of our lives. It can make our life easier and provide safety and efficiency to our clients and patients. But we will be heading for disastrous results if the technology cannot be controlled or adapted by the industry experts.

Governments have to make sure that physicians and the healthcare community are involved in developing technology so that it can be validated and used successfully. For technologies such as artificial intelligence, there needs to be algorithm transparency and compliance with the standard of care and privacy. Doctors need to be taught how to work with the technologies and handle artificial intelligence machines.

The government also needs to ensure accountability. It is unfair to introduce unilateral mandates for physicians and healthcare providers without first creating a transparent process to account for technology and development- it will be unfair to the doctors, caregivers, and the patients. Instead, all parties need to be kept in the loop so that they can work in synchronization. It just helps in achieving better healthcare practices.

We have had enough of buzzwords relating to electronic health records, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. We hear that healthcare will be taken over by corporates who have access to every detail of the patient in the future. Still, there are inadequate means to ensure the standard of care and compliance with medical delivery.

The changes have to be implemented at the local and state levels and should account for state government agencies such as health and human services and medical boards. Government should also integrate the practice of independent physicians should also be combined with the changes. It should take the help of technology to gather feedback from the healthcare community for quality assurance continuously.

Physicians have to be trained so that their understanding of the fundamental technologies can be improved that are constantly in the phase of evolving. The process should start in the medical schools to become adept in handling the technologies right from the beginning of their practice.

The skill of the doctors has to be harmonized and directed in the right path for creating the right tool that will help domains like healthcare. Only then will the physicians be able to use them to achieve positive outcomes and help their patients correctly. We have to account for the decisions and judgments of the stakeholders of the healthcare community so that the technologies can be used most optimally.

#Healthcare #ArtificialIntelligence #Technology #HealthTechnology #Medicine

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