Technology has played a pivotal role in healthcare transformation. But will the confluence of digital technologies have the same disruptive impact on surgical care? What can we expect when it comes to the future of surgery? Historically, the healthcare industry has been highly regulated and is slower to adapt to new technologies. But over the past decade, a wide range of new, high-tech products have made their way into the sector. In the coming years, artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality will play significant roles in conjunction with clinical health IT applications. But will these technologies be equally effective and have the potential to generate actual savings in surgery?
Based on current research of surgical applications, we identified three key technologies that will majorly impact the future of surgery : AI and Machine Learning, Robotics, and Augmented and Virtual Reality.
Here is what we believe 2020 will hold for the modern operating room.
AI and Machine Learning
AI in surgery refers to a collection of different technologies, enabling machines to understand, act and learn, so they can perform specific surgical functions. Unlike medical devices designed to functionally support a clinician or surgeon, AI today could actually augment a surgeon’s decision-making.
By 2020, it is estimated that medical data will double every 73 days. Earlier this year, a McKinsey study revealed that by leaning on big data, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to process it, could lead to a potential $100 billion in annual savings for medicine and pharma.
AI’s potential for healthcare is reflected in a number of possible and actual surgical use cases. Not least of all would be addressing surgical variability and reducing errors, where the benefits are manifold. Technical skills vary from surgeon to surgeon, particularly when learning new or more complex procedures, and can have huge implications on patient outcomes and cost. According to a research from John Hopkin University, around 4,044 cases of surgical errors occur annually in the U.S and in over 20 years there were more than 9744 paid malpractice claims which cost over $1.3 billion. AI can be a useful tool to identify and understand surgical variability and error, helping surgeons to improve – even the best of them.
In the future, AI and Machine Learning techniques will be used simultaneously to uncover critical insights from the millions of data points collected by endoscopic and laparoscopic surgical videos, and solve a number of problems facing the surgery department, including outcomes variability. With the help of AI, surgeons will be able to understand more clearly which techniques align with better outcomes, and these insights will link to patients’ post-operative and long-term health outcomes.
By Gargee Kashyap | SmartSurgery
Image Credit: Gargee Kashyap / SmartSurgery