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Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Your Family Doctor?

The Huffington Post—April 21, 2011

Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery

How concerned or thrilled should I be that the intelligence designated to my future health care decisions will be potentially limited or artificial?

In the past, a good physician knew his/her patients. He/she was there at your birth and then at the birth of your children -- the Marcus Welby, M.D. or Dr. Kildare who did it all. As medicine and science and technology evolved, the medical specialist was born. Specialists tend to be very focused and may "listen" only to those symptoms/signs relative to their specialty and assume some other specialist is dealing with "everything else." In most instances, triage from an astute general internist or primary physician or other health care provider is required.

Medicine has become dependent on lab tests and imaging examinations; the "art" of medicine is being lost. Even more disturbing, is that most laboratory examinations highlight when the results are too high, too low, or abnormal in some way. Medicine is being dumbed down at the same time that technology and communication of results is becoming faster.

So where is medicine going? Is it better to sit back and assume that things are changing for the better? More non-physician healthcare professionals and AI to tell me how I am doing? It will be hard for me not to question decisions about my health and wonder who and how the ultimate decision for my treatment is being made.

Radiologists have been the earliest physician adapters to technology and I am not anti-technology or opposed to non-physician assistants being involved with patient care but I am concerned with appropriate and inaccurate information being communicated and acted on without validation and appropriate oversight. In my opinion and for me personally, I want trained experienced personnel to listen, examine and treat the patient, not the lab test or the X-Ray result.

Read the full story at huffingtonpost.com.



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