The ever-growing field of artificial intelligence and sophisticated robotic technology paired with advanced digital health solutions have impacted the day-to-day job duties of the average doctor. But, will this affect the demand for doctors, and will doctors become obsolete? This article will cover just that.
We will provide answers to questions like, When will doctors become obsolete? Will doctors’ skills become obsolete? What if doctors become obsolete in 10 years? Whether you’re interested in learning the requirements to become a physician assistant, cardiovascular surgeon, or another career in the medical field, this article is for you.
What Are Doctors?
Doctors are educated health and human body experts who conduct medical exams and testing to identify any health issues. They apply their training towards providing accurate treatment plans and correct diagnoses. Depending on your choice of medical specialization, you can become a physician, gynecologist, neurologist, radiologist, or general practitioner.
Your job duties will differ according to your specialization. You’ll encounter a variety of medical conditions in your time with patients, and the subsequent learning you’ll get from these experiences will be invaluable. Doctors and health experts embody the spirit of philanthropy and provide an irreplaceable service to the rest of the world.
Will Doctors Be Replaced by Future Technology?
No, human doctors cannot be replaced by future technology, but they will use advanced medical technology to enhance the accuracy of their diagnoses. While machine intelligence will be an asset to the existing ability of health professionals, people need the human contact of the doctor-patient relationship to feel more confident with their care.
No matter the medical condition, a correct diagnosis received from a thorough medical exam will be better if it comes with a human touch. Below are the top reasons why doctors cannot be replaced by future technology.
Possibility of Errors in Artificial Intelligence Technologies
There are tons of jobs that use artificial intelligence and there is no doubt that the contributions of these intelligent machines have sparked the progression of many fields. But, complete reliance on these technologies can lead to grave errors, especially in the medical field.
The possibility of machine error is a reality and can happen due to human programming mistakes or machine glitches. Besides, artificial intelligence technology is still a fairly new invention, and turning these technologies into error-free machines will take some time.
Human Learning and Intelligence Cannot Be Replaced
Medicine is a communicative and empathetic field that requires doctors to understand the patient’s pain, mental state, and reactions to give a medical diagnosis. Human and emotive intelligence is never as good in AI-driven systems. Understanding the patient experience and their personal situations is often necessary for providing apt medical care.
Physical Quality of Care Requires Human Experience and Input
Imagining a world where hospitals are run by AI robots can be a scary thought. This is because an AI machine could never provide physical patient care that translates well into emotive and social relationships. The compassionate input of primary care physicians is necessary for patients’ recovery and overall morale.
Technologies and Trends That Could Make Doctors Obsolete
Have you ever wondered deep down if robots could really replace doctors? After all, a machine can remember more than a human can. Below are the top technologies and trends that could augment, diminish, or transform the job duties of doctors.
Natural Language Processing Applications
Qualitative analysis and unstructured human language processing systems are prevalent across several lucrative industries, including the healthcare sector. Natural language processing applications analyze, streamline, and structure raw qualitative clinical data into viable diagnosis possibilities.
This AI technology has an unlimited capacity for data processing that could be overwhelming for a human doctor. This capability presents all possible explanations of each health issue and will help doctors make accurate diagnoses.
Electronic Health Record Systems
Data science and data analysis have become a necessity across the majority of the current professional sectors. Having precise and detailed medical records can be essential to save a patient’s life. Today’s healthcare databases can hold and process a huge amount of big data. Electronic records save space and resources and can be accessed by multiple doctors who are treating the same patient.
The data acquisition and analysis process used in electronic record keeping makes disease prediction, virus tracking, constant monitoring, and treatment planning a much easier and more seamless process. This saves valuable time and energy that a doctor can use to invest in other patients.
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Medical Imaging Analysis AI Software
Analyzing medical imaging reports like X-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans requires extreme attention and expertise. Medical imaging analysis, artificial intelligence, and deep learning technologies are used for anomaly detection. These technologies use algorithm analysis, machine learning, and image recognition for diagnostic purposes.
Artificial Intelligence Surgery Assistant Technology
The uses of artificial intelligence technologies aren’t simply limited to a computer screen and automation software in healthcare, it also ventures into assisting surgeons with surgery. AI-enabled robotic technology is on the rise and is used for instrument positioning, treatment plan data analysis, and sometimes surgery performance.
Robotic surgeries can be used for hair transplants and cardiovascular surgical procedures. The AI technology observes, records, and learns to copy a surgeon’s movements precisely.
When Will Doctors Become Obsolete?
Doctors will not become obsolete at any time in the near future. This medical profession will instead progress and integrate with helpful AI technologies. This merger is already happening and artificial intelligence is changing the healthcare industry in various ways.
Today, healthcare automation systems, diagnostic software, data analysis, and natural language processing applications are great aids for a doctor. Especially as the shortage of physicians looms over our future.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the physician profession will only grow by three percent over the next decade. It is crucial to utilize AI diagnostic technologies to their full capabilities to combat this shortage. Because of this, you can expect to have more artificial intelligence input when visiting a doctor in the next ten years.
What This Means for Businesses
There are plenty of impacts on businesses that will be caused by the integration of technology into the physician profession. These impacts predominantly apply to healthcare industries but also cover other business and information technology sectors. Below are a few ways businesses will be impacted due to the technology that is becoming more prevalent in the healthcare industry.
Heavy Healthcare Software Reliance
As artificial technologies continue to progress in healthcare and other industries, so does our reliance on those technologies. The future of a typical doctor’s career will be affected greatly by healthcare software. To facilitate this advancement, healthcare businesses will need to start investing in advanced analysis software, diagnostic AI tools, and data processing software.
Less Human Employee Expenses for Administrative Tasks
The advancement of machine learning and automation software will save healthcare businesses a lot of money on administrative payroll expenses. Administrative tasks such as workflow streamlining, data processing, and virtual patient assistance are some areas where businesses can save money.
Fast Medical Processing and Diagnostic Process
The usage of healthcare technologies by a doctor also saves time for a business and creates space for more patients. Software technologies that offer medical image analysis and medical record processing features make the entire treatment process much faster. They also act as a valuable second opinion and aid to a doctor.
Doctors Job Outlook
The job outlook rate for doctors will vary depending on their specialization and educational qualifications. As stated previously in this article, the job outlook rate for physicians and surgeons is projected to grow by three percent between 2020 and 2030.
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This slow average job growth rate projection by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not decrease the overall demand for medical professionals. The shortage of doctors in the upcoming future will enhance a doctor’s demand across the country and increase this occupation’s professional value.
How Much Money Will Doctors Earn in the Future?
The future salary predictions for doctors will vary depending on specialization, industry demand, and state of employment. According to BLS, the average salary for physicians and surgeons was $208,000 in May 2020. This projection showcases an increased salary rate amongst physicians. According to BLS, the mean annual salary for physicians in May 2019 was $203,450.
What Are the Best States for Doctors Jobs?
According to BLS, the best paying states for doctors and physician jobs are Maine, Montana, South Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming. This will vary by profession and job designation. BLS further reports two of the top-paying states for anesthesiologists are California and Connecticut. Obstetricians and gynecologists, meanwhile, can get paid the most in Hawaii or Wyoming.
How to Avoid Becoming Obsolete: The Key to Future-Proofing Your Career as a Doctor
Being updated, adaptable, and a quick learner are some skills necessary to avoid becoming obsolete as a doctor. As the industry transforms and adapts to new technologies, it is vital to acquire new skills to keep up with the changing times. Below are the best tips for future-proofing your career as a doctor in 2022.
Learn Healthcare System Management Software
The first tip to making sure you don’t become obsolete in the medical profession is to master the software that will become more popular. Healthcare system management software is used across most major healthcare institutions and knowing how to use them is crucial to optimal job performance. This skill will also help you to better perform your tasks and be more efficient.
Take a Course on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technologies
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are essential elements both now and in the future of the medical industry. As a doctor, you will use AI-enabled technologies to perform surgery, provide accurate diagnoses, review medical records, and maintain patient data.
It would be helpful to learn AI and machine learning techniques so you have a better understanding of how these machines work. MIT is one of several schools that offer online courses in relevant subjects such as artificial intelligence in healthcare so you can master this lucrative subject area.
Be Vigilant About Artificial Intelligence Applications
Although mastering artificial intelligence applications and technologies is essential for job advancement for doctors, it is still important to be vigilant about learning these growing technologies. AI can be extremely helpful but the technology isn’t perfect.
AI-enabled technologies are not error-free, and blindly trusting these software programs can lead to fatal consequences. Doctors should always double-check any automated diagnosis, medical imaging analysis report, or patient healthcare data record before confirming a treatment plan.
Do Doctors Have a Future?
Yes, doctors have a bright and promising future ahead of them as this is an essential profession necessary for the survival of the human species. Today’s artificial intelligence, deep learning, and automation software advancements are prevalent across this medical profession. Their presence shouldn’t be considered a threat, but an enhancer for the position.
These technologies help speed up diagnostic results, derive a well-researched treatment plan, and conduct regular data collection and processing to improve medical services. However, despite their benefits, AI-enabled technologies cannot replace human doctors as they lack human experience, emotional intelligence, and genuine care for individual patients.
Will Doctors Become Obsolete? FAQ
No, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies cannot replace human doctors as they cannot offer emotional input, physical care, or human intelligence.
No, doctors, physicians, and other medical specialists won’t become obsolete because entirely replacing their input, experience, and skills with AI technology is almost impossible. Besides, the public acceptance of a fully robotic medical process instead of human doctors is a far-fetched idea.
The daily job duties of doctors in the coming 10-year time frame will become more automated because of evolving AI technology. Using AI applications and robotic surgery assistants will become more common across the medical field.
Some AI and automation technologies that impact doctor jobs are medical imaging analysis, electronic health records, and robotic surgery assisting technologies.