GlowforgePokemon62 t1_iz17k6p wrote

Doctors are not going to be replaced but their efficiency will be improved so we will be able to do more testing with fewer headcount. If you design these robots, you already know this happening. Easiest example is NGS workflow. A pathologist in a thread above said “obviously NGS is automated, what are we going to do count every sequence” Tens years ago (maybe 15) that’s literally what they did lol


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?


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.


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.