The Automated Physician Assistant.

Let’s face it, when it comes to parsing through thousands different words to find a commonality the human mind is no competition for a computer. The same goes for figuring out a condition given multiple symptoms. That is what this post is all about.

Medical reform is going full force now, finally… I can remember when the company called WebMD was formed around 1996. They promised to finally bring the medical establishment into the digital age. They were primarily targeting the record keeping area. Since I came from that basic area I saw a bright future for them, so I bought several shares of their stock.

I assume many of you remember when you visited your doctor’s or dentist’s office you saw row after row of manila folders filled with paper copies of your medical records. WebMD promised to eliminate them. Long story short, they are still present but have now morphed into a media company. Fortunately, others came along to take their place in the digitalization of healthcare. It is heartening to see that almost all medical information is now digital. But they still have a long way to go to fully use even the technology at hand, let alone what will be available in just a few short years.

One of the countries that has leapfrogged over the U.S. in this field is China. Their continuous progress in medical reform has allowed their healthcare system, which covers about 95% of the population. In China, nearly 80% of the hospitals and medical companies rely on medical AI applications and believe that they will eventually become very popular in the rest of the world. This seems to be just another incidence where China will likely leapfrog ahead of the U.S. China took a lot of criticism about their handling of the Coronavirus but given the fact that the US has bumbled it much worse than they did will likely be yet another reason why the world will be looking to them to move them into the future of medicine.

It is not that the US has not made any progress. Digital Physician Assistants are showing up more frequently in many US hospitals, especially with the pandemic going full bore now. If doctors and hospitals have their say FaceTime and other apps will be the first appointment for most of us. Healthcare has their own version of Google dedicated to finding possible causes for a myriad of complex symptoms. Digital assistants will never replace a doctor for the final decision as to how to go forward, instead they will provide him with more possibilities when it comes to determining how to proceed. It is even getting to the point where many doctors now openly admit that they refer to their digital staff before rendering their diagnosis.

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