Nothing Beats Human Interaction

Artificial intelligence (AI), to put it simply, is not a new
phenomenon. Innovators have long experimented with the level of human
interaction actually needed for processes to run smoothly, and the medical
field is not immune from such experimentation, either. In fact, with the advent
of telehealth, many medical processes are being relegated to AI and technology
with less of a human component—but what does that mean for patient care? Are
doctors ever going to be entirely replaced? A recent Ophthalmic Innovation summit
(as highlighted in a recent Healio
blog post) discussed AI and the human component in the eye care practice. In
short, summit attendees reached the conclusion that while “artificial intelligence and telemedicine are already embedded
in today’s eye care practice…the human component will never be replaced.”

Compared to the years its takes a
human eye doctor to become an expert in the field, AI only needs the correct
algorithm to analyze tens of thousands of data points. AI can also process
those data points and their correlates significantly faster than humans can
because the algorithms allow improved access to much more data. Furthermore,
telehealth apps can allow patients to check up on symptoms and be, overall,
more aware of their conditions. It gives them greater access to health care
with little to no inconvenience. When asked about how telehealth would overall
impact the practice of ophthalmology, the summit participants mostly responded
favorably. Many saw its use as inevitable, while others felt telehealth has its
place in medical practice as a useful tool. Still others determined they would
be more enthusiastic about incorporating more telehealth if they could be
reimbursed for it. However, they all seemed to agree that telehealth and AI
would not wholly replace the need for human consultation.

So why is that human component so necessary?
Here’s why. “Human beings aren’t algorithms,” said panelist Dr. Eric Schmidt. “We can
understand their inner needs when they’re in the chair. Deep learning in AI won’t ever
replace that.” Their symptoms and conditions may be easily transferred to math
equations, but people will always remain more than a number. And so they
should. Despite how convenient an app is for checking on symptoms, patients
still desire an actual doctor to explain what the diagnosis means. There is
something comforting, and almost necessary, about that interaction. So—big
picture—while convenience is huge (we spend so much of our time trying to find
ways to save time), we must never forget whom telehealth and AI serves: people.
The convenience of telehealth and AI means nothing if the people designed to
benefit from it are in some way hurt or disadvantaged by its use.

Click here to read the Healio blog post on the optometry summit.


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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !