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Doctor vs Computer: Can a Computer Make a Better Diagnosis?
I found this visitor question on a discussion forum
:" i was debating this with some doctors who say that it would be impossible to program a computer to make diagnoses as well as they can. i find this pretty ridiculous. whatever thought process/string of questions they would use to analyze the situation are the same that the computer would be programmed to use. the compute:r would then analyze all available information, ask questions, analyze the answers and assign probabilities. in fact, it seems like this would be way simpler than some of the things computers have already been programmed for. what do u think?"
So what do I think?
My opinion, as a doctor, is that what is input into a computer for calculation is the most important part of the process of making a diagnosis and deciding on a treatment program to benefit the patient. No amount of computer power or access to data storage will substitute for the physician's input of the history and the physical findings of the patient. A computer posing questions to a patient and the patient responding will never substitute for a direct doctor-patient communication. There are many subtleties, nuances of a history which can never be accessed by a computer, such as body language and verbal expressions and there is no way for a computer to perform a complete and worthy physical examination. A robot used in surgery still requires a doctor behind it and no robot will attain the skills to inspect, auscultate, palpate and percuss and then interpret the findings. To me, how complete and understood is the input of data both from a patient telling a history and the doctor performing a physical is the basis for the diagnosis. Poor input will always lead to poor output. And, finally, it will always take a doctor to analyze the results of the computer to confirm its diagnosis. I would agree that the doctor with knowledge and with experience and then working together with the computer can be most productive of the correct diagnosis.
So.. what do you think?