"As Australian, British and American universities continue to graduate increasing numbers of medical students, the obvious question is where will these new doctors work in the future?
It is in the area of medical diagnostics where many people see possible significant cost reduction while improving accuracy by using technology instead of human doctors.
It is already common for blood tests and genetic testing (genomics) to be carried out automatically and very cost effectively by machines. They analyse the blood specimen and automatically produce a report."
Currently, many radiological tests performed in Australia are being read by radiologists in other countries, such as the UK. Rather than having an expert in Australia get out of bed at 3am to read a brain scan of an injured patient, the image can be digitally sent to a doctor in any appropriate time zone and be reported on almost instantly.
What if machines were taught to read X-rays working at first with, and ultimately instead of, human radiologists? Would we still need human radiologists? Probably. Improved imaging, such as MRI and CT scans, will allow radiologists to perform some procedures that surgeons now undertake.
Ross Crawford, Professor of Orthopaedic Research, Anjali Jaiprakash Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Medical Robotics and Jonathan Roberts, Professor in Robotics, all from the Queensland University of Technology, speculate on where Information Technology is likely to increasingly aid and even replace medical professionals:
Most importantly, will computer programs have a better bedside manner?