There’s a lot of anxiety among doctors about things like artificial intelligence and automation. You don’t have to look very far to find stories and discussions about doctors being replaced. So should we be concerned? Are doctors dispensable?
Here’s an idea: If what you do as a physician is easy, maybe you should be nervous. Because…
- Rote transactional care can be done by advanced practitioners.
- Identifying visual patterns is ripe for artificial intelligence.
- Repetitive things can be automated in different ways.
- Algorithms and machine learning are getting better at putting basic clinical stories together.
Our biggest opportunity is with the hard human stuff that sits in between. The things that machines struggle with and can only mimic. Things like nuance, ambiguity, abstraction and big picture thinking. The human interface between people and really advanced interventional tools will become a critical role for doctors as well.
The things that make medicine easy are the things that make doctors dispensable.
What else will make this graduating generation of doctors dispensable in the next 25 years? More importantly, what makes doctors indispensable?