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Is this the year Artificial Intelligence finally make it into medicine?


The year 2023 is over a week old now. If you look around, there won't be much to see that will appear significantly different from what the past year was.

But as weeks turn into months this year, there are bound to be things that will be different, and you'll possibly end up with newer experiences.

Healthcare delivery will certainly be different from what you had been used to in the past year. Healthcare access will increasingly become remote.

As more and more healthcare service providers continue to invest in medtech, the evolution of service delivery will continue to shift more towards remote services.

This will translate into less physical visits to healthcare facilities, and many associated benefits. You will have to keep yourself ready for this paradigm shift, and keep yourself adaptable to newer ways of healthcare delivery.

Armed with smart portable gadgets, you will hardly need to travel to the doctor's office.

Current medtech allows you to connect with your doctors securely, not just for a verbal consult but for remote physical med exams as well.

You won't need to be physically present at your doctors' for them to touch you, or to listen to your heartbeat.

They will do all that wherever you'll choose to be, and still end up with an accurate diagnosis, and the correct treatment recommendations.

Do-it-yourself medicine

If you end up requiring any tests to be done, you'll still not need to go anywhere. Healthcare providers will send you packages containing instructions on how to perform simple med tests on yourself, with instant results that will feed back remotely to your doctor.

You will also be directed on how to self-collect various test samples that may need to be mailed to the lab.

Then just sit and relax for the results to seamlessly filter back to you and your doctor.

You won't be needing to go to pharmacies to fill out prescriptions either. All that will continually be integrated with your consults and related tests.

In fact, prescriptions will all but disappear.

Artificially Intelligent (AI) software will increasingly interface with your doctor, automatically initiating the call to send the right meds your way after analyzing your med data. And the meds won't be delivered by a human either, drones will be doing the job just fine, with the right GPS coordinates to your front door.

But hang on for another minute. Not every facet of healthcare will evolve into automation, digitization and remote delivery.

You will still be forced to make your way to healthcare facilities for many reasons, not least for some medical emergencies and other procedures.

The brains and the tactile feel of an experienced physician are unlikely to ever get beaten by AI anytime soon, certainly not in 2023.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist

[email protected]

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