We live in a progressive world where modern technology and artificial intelligence are profoundly innovative and advanced. Because or these technological advancements, there have been substantial high-tech solutions in diagnosing, monitoring and treating an array of medical conditions. Though our high tech innovations have made an impact in the healthcare industry in many ways, there are also consequences that may come with these sophisticated advances. It is important to find the right balance between machine and human skills in the medical field. Artificial intelligence may make advances in medical technology; however, there will always be a downside and we should never solely depend on AI, as it comes with great responsibility.
Having a robotic surgical system requires an abundance of special training and offers a minimally invasive approach to surgery. The da Vinci Surgery has been used on over three million patients throughout the world, providing the option for minimally invasive procedures in which a surgeon can offer a robot-assisted surgery by controlling a device that operates on their patient (da Vinci). The da Vinci reduces the recovery time, minimizes the patient’s hospital stay and reduces blood loss. The nine-week training requirement for surgeons to use the da Vinci has been dropped and one cardiac surgeon states that he did not feel fully comfortable until he performed 200-300 surgeries (The Bleeding Edge). Can you imagine being one of the first few cases? Because the medical device industry is so profitable and easy to get approved through the FDA, many devices have been approved under the 501(k) and were able to surpass clinical trials and the patients are left to discover the side effects and complications (The Bleeding Edge). Sure, innovation and the vast improvements of medical technology have been known to greatly improve the medical world, but lives should not be at stake in the process of this growing billion-dollar industry.
Too much dependency on artificial intelligence could have negative consequences in the medical field. Disasters can be natural and range from fires, earthquakes, storms or floods, or a disaster can also be man-made, such as a terrorist attack. During a natural disaster, modern technology or computers relying on Internet and electricity may not be available. A doctor or healthcare provider may depend on devices to care for their patients and not be prepared in an instance in which those devices are not readily available. In the example of a war zone or large-scale trauma, there may not be high tech devices in range or enough to help everyone (Pourhosseini et al.). Ensuring that modern technology is not our sole focus is important in understanding the basic foundation of medicine, so that patients can be treated in any scenario. There are various aspects of healthcare services that require management, including the mental health of victims, which can not be assessed by a device. Psychological support needs to be provided by a team of specialists to evaluate victims of disaster (Pourhosseini et al.).
Healthcare technology, just like human error, can also contribute to medical mistakes (Siwicki). Though medical technology is designed to reduce errors in healthcare, there are still occasional unforeseen types or errors that can occur (Agrawal). Relying on computers to calculate the correct dose is a way to prevent medication errors (Agrawal). What happens when a medical staff depends on artificial intelligence rather than exercising their education? Proper training is crucial in working with artificial intelligence to reduce the likeliness of errors (Fasig). Documenting and reporting errors will help reduce mishaps long-term. Creating a system to avoid mishaps and minimizing possible risks by thoroughly investigating and researching new medical devices can help prevent errors (Siwicki). The third leading cause of death in the United States are a result of preventable adverse events in the medical field, which often happen when new technology is introduced without proper training (Fasig).Medical errors should be more transparent and available for patients and doctors to be aware of, for the sake of education and safety. New innovations are unproven until time exposes thefaults a device may or may not have. Typically, surgeons and patients are not well versed or educated on the process of approval for medical devices through the FDA (The Bleeding Edge).
Doctors willing to provide computer-assisted surgeries should be required to a more in-depth training process to use these advanced medical devices (The Bleeding Edge). Healthcare providers should understand and know the importance of leaning on the basic foundation of healthcare rather than solely focusing on technological advancements. Proper training in computer systems is crucial in avoiding medical mishaps (Siwicki). Stricter guidelines and regulations of device approval through the FDA could help minimize risks. Cutting corners in healthcare, with the use of artificial intelligence, should be done with caution due to the risks involved. Computers do not come with doctor-patient intimacy or weed out rare patient circumstances that do not adhere to standard textbook criteria. Simply put, safety should be the number one priority in healthcare, rather than profit.
by Misti Blu Day McDermott
Agrawal, Abha. “Medication Errors: Prevention Using Information Technology Systems.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2723209/
The Bleeding Edge. Directed and produced by Kirby Dick, 2018. Netflix. http://bleedingedgedoc.com
“da Vinci Surgery: Minimally Invasive Surgery.” Intuitive Surgical, Inc., 2018. http://www.davincisurgery.com
Fasig, Jimmy. “New Medical Technology Can Lead to Errors that Create Liability if Users Are Not Properly Trained.” Fasig & Brooks, 06 May 2015. https://www.fasigbrooks.com/blog/2015/may/new-medical-technology-can-lead-to-errors-that-c/
Pourhosseini, Samira, et al. “Key Aspects of Providing Healthcare Services in Disaster Response Stage.” Iran J Public Health, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449997/
Siwicki, Bill. “State Finds Hundreds of Medical Errors Linked to Medical Technology.” Health IT News, 2017. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/state-finds-hundreds-medication-errors-linked-healthcare-technology