Dr. Robot—AI and deep machine learning

CEO David Ormesher discusses how AI and deep machine learning will play an increasingly more important role in the healthcare ecosystem in a recent feature from PharmaVOICE.

“Shhh…please don’t tell my wife, who is an internist, but if we define robots as machines that function in place of a living agent, then yes, robots will replace some physicians in the same way that technology has replaced travel agents and will replace accountants and Uber drivers.

As we’ve learned in so many other areas of consumer behavior, commoditization trends of low cost, speed and convenience eventually prevail. We see this with the growth of convenience store clinics. NPs and PAs are replacing primary care physicians for diagnosing many common ailments. In every industry, there are tasks that are definable and repeatable. Robot technology is simply the next stage in automating the process. The accuracy of the robot-driven diagnostic will come from aggregating millions of patient records and then using that patient data to train machine-learning platforms. AI algorithms will learn and grow smarter with each patient. It’s the power of the network effect to improve healthcare. If you couple robotic diagnostics with telemedicine, it’s a short path to full automation.

Already, patients are learning how to conference on their smartphone, give permission for phone-based sensors to upload biometric data to an online HCP and receive a prescription that may soon be delivered in an hour by Amazon. What’s to stop the inexorable evolution to robotics when medical assistant bots eventually take vitals and only refer patients to a ‘real’ doctor if the algorithm suggests an issue is serious? Robot technology is coming—that’s a given. The real question is whether we are emotionally ready. But getting a prescription for an ear infection along with a gallon of milk at the nearest MinuteClinic has already broken the emotional tie with one’s physician. As soon as we accept acute care as transactional, the robots will move in.”

A version of this article appeared in the November, 2019 issue of PharmaVOICE. 

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