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The Pros and Cons of New Technologies in Avoiding GP Negligence

Medical negligence is a huge issue in the healthcare industry, as it unnecessarily harms patients and costs both private and government healthcare providers millions annually. Considering the local doctor is most people’s first port of call, it’s no surprise that GP negligence cases make up a significant chunk of all negligence cases worldwide. 

New technologies are being employed in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals to reduce the number of negligence cases they receive. But, what are these technologies and how well do they work?

In this post we’re going to briefly outline the new technologies being implemented in the healthcare industry. We’ll then give you the benefits and drawbacks of them in avoiding medical negligence. Take a look…

What New Technologies Are Doctors Using to Diagnose Health Conditions?

Artificial Intelligence

The majority of new diagnostic technologies that have an impact on hospital and GP negligence are AI-based. This is because AI can collate a huge amount of data and spit out a result at a much more efficient rate than a doctor can. AI can also be programmed to perform complex surgeries in hospitals, doing work that most surgeons would find next to impossible.

Telehealth

There are also Telehealth technologies that allow doctors to diagnose conditions through pictures and video calls. This means they can diagnose more patients in a single work day than they were ever able to before.

AI and Telehealth Together

When you put these technologies together, you get a system where patients send in pictures of their condition along with a description of their symptoms. The doctor runs it through an AI system that has access to thousands of other patient data, as well as a record of this patient’s medical history, to get a diagnosis.

The doctor will then decide from this diagnosis if you need to undergo any further testing. This can also be decided by AI, or undergo a procedure that might be performed by a surgical robot.

All of these technologies are supposed to speed up diagnostic and procedural processes, whilst also reducing hospital and GP negligence. These technologies are clearly quicker at diagnosing and performing procedures than a doctor, but are they actually better at avoiding cases of medical negligence?

What Are the Pros and Cons of These New Healthcare Technologies?

To determine whether these new technologies are capable of reducing cases of GP negligence, we have to weigh up their pros and cons. Take a look…

Pros of Healthcare Technologies

1. They provide real time data

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 

A key component of diagnosing and addressing medical issues is to acquire accurate information in a timely manner. As we mentioned in the last section, doctors can use AI technology to acquire immediate and precise data to help them make clinical decisions.

Generating more rapid and realistic results allows them to diagnose conditions more accurately and improve preventative steps. This can ensure GP negligence, and other forms of medical negligence, are less likely to take place.

Doctors can also share the data they receive through real-time analytics with the patient, allowing them to engage in their own treatments.

2. Less margin for error

Not only do these new technologies help doctors diagnose conditions more quickly and take preventative steps, they also automate some of the more tedious tasks a doctor might make a mistake on.

We’ve all performed repetitive tasks in our jobs that have bored us to death and, when that happens, we are more prone to making mistakes. Thankfully, AI doesn’t have the capacity to be bored, and is able to perform repetitive tasks, such as identifying visual markers in a radiology lab, that would usually take hours and make a doctor prone to mistakes.

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They also help doctors schedule appointments and track patients, both of which will reduce GP negligence.

3. Frees up time for doctors to help patients

As you might have gathered from this post so far, AI speeds processes up and automates a lot of the boring tasks a doctor would usually have to do themselves.

By freeing up vital productivity hours and resources, doctors have more time to do the actual hard work of deciding on a course of treatment and interfacing with their patients. This would most definitely reduce cases of GP negligence.

4. Provide more data

It’s not just that AI technologies collect data for diagnosis and treatment more quickly than doctors that helps reduce GP negligence, it’s also the amount and type of data they can collect.

AI is able to collect large amounts of data from various sources for a doctor to look at once. This allows for more effective diagnosis and treatment, especially when it comes to obscure diseases that a doctor doesn’t often deal with.

It can also translate papers from other countries that a doctor wouldn’t have even been able to read prior to this technology.

Cons of Healthcare Technologies

1. Possibility of a defective diagnosis

National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

We’ve sung the praises of this AI technology using large amounts of data to diagnose conditions more effectively. That said, at this stage in its development, AI isn’t exactly perfect.

Medical AI depends heavily on diagnosis data available from millions of other catalogued cases. However, in cases where little data exists on a particular condition, demographics, or environmental factors, it could potentially misdiagnose a condition.

If doctors become reliant on this technology to diagnose conditions, they might neglect to override the AI’s diagnosis and could find themselves undergoing a GP negligence case.

2. Doesn’t always contain inclusive data

AI imaging software often struggles to diagnose conditions across various genders and ethnicities. One example would be how AI algorithms have struggled to detect suspicious moles on dark skin tones, as well as the changes in its appearance over time.

The technology is getting better at this, but currently it is not fit for purpose for everyone, and could lead to a hospital or GP negligence claim if it it’s used on the wrong person.

3. Misses social cues

When a doctor sits down with a patient, either in person or through a telehealth app, they can glean information from them through conversation that the person might not have disclosed otherwise.

As AI diagnostic technologies are rolled out en masse, they might miss these vital social cues that have often helped doctors diagnose conditions in the past.

Are New Technologies Useful in Avoiding GP Negligence?

In this post, we’ve discussed the new technologies helping doctors diagnose medical conditions, and whether they are a good or bad thing for avoiding negligence.

The short answer is that these technologies show amazing promise, and will certainly reduce the number of GP negligence cases in the future. That said, there are still a lot of kinks that need to be worked out before they are implemented fully into the medical system.

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