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drunken-oracle t1_iz0cy83 wrote

This robot required two surgeons to operate. I had surgery a few months ago and my surgeon used a robot.


GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz0d42c wrote

Surgery is still very far away from true automation. But diagnostics, especially in pathology. A scanner is set to replace a whole pathology department and instead transition to one head of pathology just confirming it is working.


[deleted] t1_iz0elea wrote



GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz0fijg wrote

I can name several departments across the country that are extremely short staffed, specifically with Pathologists. Their solution is to improve the efficiency of their current staff through these semi automated solutions. If you aren’t concerned about automation coming for these jobs, you probably are not talking with your finance department.

If you combine that with the automated nature of NGS and how it just spits out a report, this is where the industry is heading. Multiplexing is a similar story - no pathologists wants to look at these crazy complex slides all day scoring and counting. They can barely manage single color stains always complaining it hurts their eyes. At some point, the limitations of human diagnostics is going to be seen not just as a cost savings measure but a benefit to the patient. When that switch happens, although it can be gradual, it creates a profound shift in the industry that can spread rapidly.


[deleted] t1_iz0m0a8 wrote



GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz0tiw6 wrote

It’s going to take a while, but it is happening and the increase in semi-autonomation across all areas of a hospital will only increase in pace.

One small correction to the above comment, the interpretation of NGS data is already being done by algorithm. A pathologist is only needed to view the report.


samziboy t1_iz0flwp wrote

It is always funny reading comments like these as someone who is in the medical field. As the other comment stated, No, computers will not be replacing any pathologist or radiologist anytime soon. Medical imaging goes beyond just identifying a lesion on an image (and even that is very difficult cus lesions can look different from person to person). Clinical context is very important. AI will help streamline their work/make things a bit faster but it will not be replacing any specialists anytime soon.

AI has not even replaced truck drivers or McDonald’s workers fully and you think it can replace specialists that take a minimum of 10 years to train?


GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz0jsbh wrote

I think if you were to go into your average hospital, you would obviously be right. But if you go to a more prestigious, larger, more specialized institution you will see a massive push with big money being spent on automation. This doesn’t mean they will be firing, or as you put it, replacing anybody.

This does mean there is a shift in how clinical labs and departments are trying to drive more throughput. They would rather spend on capital than headcount. This trend is reflected in the market report data.


user45 t1_iz0n077 wrote

I don’t think anyone is projecting AI/automation to replace pathologist wholesale, but it can certainly increase efficiency so fewer are needed per x number of patients. So while no one’s job is threatened currently, that’s the trend the other person is pointing out.

And I think you are grossly underestimating the difficulty of AI replacing drivers.

It may be a lot easier to train a human truck driver than a clinician but it’s far from trivial to make that same comparison for AI drivers and clinicians.

Ultra precise maps, real time software response with no slowing or freezing, pattern recognition in dark lighting, inclement weather, worn road signs, communications between AI vehicles, hackability are just a few that comes to mind. It’s much more like a generalist. The 10 years of education is probably an easier problem to solve than millions of years of evolutionary response.


samziboy t1_iz0pgwa wrote

The comment I replied to SPECIFICALLY talked about AI replacing an entire pathology department. I also mentioned in my comment about AI increasing efficiency.

If you wanna convince yourself that it’s easier to train AI to the level of a specialist physician than it is to drive a bus then go ahead. My point was that these problems are very complex even for AI. What exactly do you think pathologists and radiologists do exactly? I think YOU are grossly underestimating what it would require for AI to be as good as a trained specialist

Identifying a particular lesion on an image is just the bare minimum and even that is incredibly difficult even for AI. They still need huge amounts of understanding to decide whether we should treat now or wait. I can’t even begin to type out how essential these specialist are. AI will need real physicians for the foreseeable future because you need someone to make clinical judgement, something no AI is capable of doing. Imaging going to an AI to make a judgement about whether to treat your mothers cancer or not. Would you take that risk?


user45 t1_iz0y3xg wrote

I think that person is talking about “replacing the department” with ONE pathologist, so the repetitive, tedious portions can be automated, and a human specialist to confirm or mark exceptions - not have AI determine my grandmother’s cancer treatment.

I’m not saying it’s easier to train a bus driver, but I am challenging the notion that AI will replace blue collar worker first (or only them), and that somehow will free us up to pursue more white collar or professional careers.

And those careers are not immune, IBM’s Watson has been advising lung cancer treatment at Sloan-Kettering nearly 10 years. AI’s playing GO or Jeopardy may seem trivial but represent accelerating change in AI space and thus real challenges for many career fields. And the higher salary jobs represent that much greater incentive for automation.

I wasn’t making a jab that doctors, but the complexity of your job is no guarantee that it will be replaced only long after truck are driving themselves.

And who knows, maybe in 10 years I will be comfortable having an AI provider deciding my grandmas treatment - and I may not be the minority.


GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz173uq wrote

It’s this 100%. This is being driven by several factors but the main one is cost. Finance departments are targeting high paying jobs and looking at what they can do without.

Think about it, you are a hospital having a horrible time with staff turnover in your breast pathology group. You have 5 headcount open for a team of 10 (15 total headcount). You have had these job openings listed since the pandemic. To meet your patients needs you have been sending out to another lab.

Now a sales rep for a medical automation company comes in and shows you examples of how you can increase your overall throughput with your current staff by switching certain tests and protocols to a digital scanner, as well improve TAT for your HEME testing to 24-48hrs.

Are you going to continue holding capital in reserve to add incremental headcount? Or are you going to outlay capital for a more efficient solution? Different HCO’s make different decisions, but the largest clinics are all diving into automation headfirst not toefirst.


GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz15pjw wrote

I’m sorry where do I say automation is going to replace the whole department? I say incremental increasing of headcount will be curtailed due to automation increasing efficiency of current staff. You just would rather invent my words to argue against a point I never made.

You say it’s easier to replace truck drivers than doctors, but it’s not that simple. You need to think about the task being done. Is it easier for a robot to read off a genetic sequence data file or drive a car?


ohaikthxbai t1_iz34o8o wrote

not sure why you're getting downvoted... you're not speaking with the intent to insult pathologists, you're just stating your experience. You're getting downvoted by people who are actually potentially insecure about the effect of AI on their profession. It's a touchy subject for sure. AI is not going to suddenly replace pathologists but an AI platform might enable 1 pathologist to do the work of 5.