The Heart of Medicine: Can Technology Replace Touch? 

Tech and medicine are synonymous. Flint knives and saws for surgery highlight early human healthcare technology. The stethoscope, an 1816 invention, changed physician-patient connection. As technology advances, how will healthcare shift with artificial medicine and big data, and can tech replace human touch?

On this episode of The Heart of Medicine, BFM Producer, Tee Shiao Eek, speaks to SJMC Consultant Cardiologist Dr Kannan Pasamanickam and Consultant Haematologist Dr Alan Teh

"When medical records went online, as a two-finger typer, I had to come in early to prepare patient's notes. Yet, as we got over the initial hiccups and when computers became more reliable, I would not want to go back to those days of writing notes. Today, it is so much easier to retrieve data as it is all interconnected. Even drug administration is much safer now as with electronic data where the algorithm can tell whether a prescription is a safe combination or if is ordered too much. There are also AI systems to process huge amounts of data which are physically unable to achieve – and in my field of cardiology, there are gadgets that would alert patients to come see me when they experience an abnormal rhythm of the heart," Dr Kannan shared. 

A research by Frost & Sullivan estimates that AI can improve patient outcomes by 30%-40% and bring treatment costs down by 50%. All this will come about when using AI, we are able to make diagnoses early, reduce complications and optimise treatment. 

"AI will not replace doctors so soon, at least that's what I think. But doctors who know how to use AI will replace those who don't. AI is a valuable tool that will help doctors perform their daily tasks more efficiently and make them better doctors. That is what I hope AI will play an important role in the next few years. There are limitations that we need to address where we cannot totally rely on the answers by ChatGPT. This is something as a doctor, I can immediately tell that it doesn't provide accurate, complete or even right answers," Dr Alan said. 

Having said that, it depends how AI is used. It is a powerful tool to summarise large amounts of data or analyse difficult problems. It is something that should excite doctors; having an additional brain or co-pilot with them. 

Source: BFM