Medicine is living deep changes that are doing that in a short time we will stop doing things the way we have been doing for many, many years.
This dizzying transformation -which some do not see and which others are not entirely aware of- is based on the unprecedented ability to obtain and process huge amounts of data from very diverse origins. These data conveniently treated are helping health professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
The first objective of the medical technical act is to obtain a diagnosis. To do this, our work is focused on collecting data -from what we see, touch, ask and obtain complementary tests-in order to establish a list of diagnostic probabilities, starting with the most probable to reach the very unlikely.
Traditionally the diagnostic process was based on the doctor’s expertise and also largely on his theoretical knowledge and experience (the amount of previous data from other patients he had collected throughout his career) which shaped the famous “good clinical eye”
This is already changing a lot, indeed. Today´s available technology -and all what is to come- will allow physicians and all health professionals to have very important supports thanks to Genomics, AI or Telemedicine, which together with the massive Data Management (Big Data) are going to help us reduce failure risk and highly increase the chances of success in the Diagnosis, in addition to causing a wonderful “side effect” which directly benefits patients: we will be able to look into their eyes instead of a screen.
But high quality information is needed however. In other words, to achieve these new capacities the Data must be correctly digitized (far beyond basics like moving from paper to pdf without being able to take any advantage of what it contains) and organized, with transparency – without incurring bioethical conflicts –, uniform and as automated as possible, so that the doctor or any other healthcare personnel can give whole attention to the direct care of the patient, true purpose of Medicine (in Capitals).
A patient who, in addition to benefiting from an “Augmented” Doctor, thanks to those same technological advances will take a much more relevant role in the management of their Health, providing their own data and actively participating in the prevention and treatment of the disease. More than Artificial Intelligence, we will need Extended Intelligence.
It’s time for change. It is time to return to the origin of the medical vocation: to take better care of patients. This time, we will do it using the data.
Author: Carlos Mascías is Chief Medical Officer and Board Member of Foundation29, Specialist Physician in Family and Community Medicine and for 11 years is dedicated to Health Management as Medical Director.