Artificial Intelligence Will Help, Not Hinder, Physicians

Artificial IntelligenceIs the evolution of artificial intelligence a threat to medical practitioners? Far from it, argues Jack Stockert, M.D., in Stat. Rather, A.I. will ease physicians’ ever-growing clerical burden, including electronic health record entry, prior authorizations and claims management. That, he asserts, will give doctors more time to “practice medicine, do research, master new technology and improve their skills.” Stockert, an executive at a Silicon Valley innovation company, says that “combining human expertise and automated functionality creates an ‘augmented’ physician model that scales and advances the expertise of the doctor.”

'Virtual Reality Has Reached a Tipping Point in Medicine'

Virtual RealityThat’s how one expert assesses the impact of virtual reality on everything from turning CT scans and X-rays into 3-D images in less than a minute to helping patients regain balance and mobility after a stroke. NBC News reports that medical VR now involves the typical headset, as well as 3-D glasses and video screens. 3-D visualizations better prepare physicians for surgical procedures as routine as fixing blocked arteries and as complex as separating conjoined twins. More and more frequently, patients are given “headsets to immerse themselves in a peaceful virtual world that takes their focus off discomfort associated with medical problems and treatments.”

These Organs May Be Mini, But Their Promise Is Huge

OrganoidsMedical scientists are creating organoids — miniature replicas of human organs — to better study how the body functions, how disease develops and how certain ailments can be treated more effectively. An Associated Press report focuses on one experiment in the Netherlands that develops “mini guts” to determine whether people with rare forms of cystic fibrosis might benefit from expensive drugs. Similar tests are happening in labs around the world. For instance, in Australia, mini kidneys are used to test drugs, AP notes, while “researchers in the U.S. are experimenting with tiny bits of livers that might be used to boost failing organs.”