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Vishal Gulati

No Robots Please…We Are Doctors…

January 15, 2016

While tensions between the medical profession and the rest of the world were running high a piece in the Telegraph caught my eye. Not because it carried any now insight but because it looks a bit confrontational because of its timing and the slant it takes. It talks (in many places, accurately) about how the relationship between doctors and patients will change forever with the advent of new technologies (fitbit has become a bit of a category moniker for all these direct to consumer technologies) but the author uses it to vent out his personal opposition to the junior doctors’ strike. The author claims that doctors are high on the ‘power’ they enjoy and that with patients getting more control this power will disappear implying that in years to come no one will care if doctors went on strike. A typical inflammatory piece. You can read it here..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/12093232/Strike-all-you-like-doctors-technology-will-soon-take-away-your-power.html

What was more interesting than the actual article was the response it got from some in the medical profession. Most doctors who tweeted about it tried to identify all the different things machines cant do (yet) and how they will ‘never be replaced by robots’. Here is an example.

https://twitter.com/DrHughHarvey/status/687190482582114304

Then there is a more thoughtful one from Dr. Eric Topol, who is on the leading edge of the tech driven medicine movement.

He also added ‘I support junior doctors’ to his tweet so there remains no doubt that it is possible to believe that technology will alter medicine, empower patients and also support the profession so they can get most out of technology.