A Health & Wellbeing Interview with Health Expert Dr. Comite [Podcast]
The healthcare industry all over the world is getting ready for AI. In this podcast, Pat Farnack interviews health expert Dr. Florence Comite about robots and precision medicine.
Robots and Medicine: The Importance of Precision Medicine
Dr. Florence Comite is an endocrinologist and founder of the Comite Center for Precision Medicine and Health in New York City and the personalized health app, QUANTIOME. She also wrote the bestseller, Keep It Up! Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
Will AI Replace Doctors?
Robots can’t replace doctors, and we’re probably going to experience a shortage of doctors for the aging population. But, they can add to care and make it easier to get exact information, but there will always be a need for human doctors.
The need for human doctors is partly because of the human touch factor, understanding, and connectivity and extrapolating the story from a patient. Especially in precision medicine, where family history is vital, and the doctor-patient connection is a crucial component of care.
We do, however, need doctors that are savvy at technology but still have an excellent bedside manner and the human touch.
Why Did You Develop QUANTIOME?
I began my start-up with frustration because there’s a big gap between the medical world and the tech world.
Physicians need to embrace technology as a complementary tool, and as part of an integrated delivery approach to precision health.
On the other hand, tech companies are missing an understanding of how complex care is in the medical world, and how we need to figure out what we don’t know.
In some ways, technology isn’t ready yet. Doctors are going to be valuable in the equation to bridge the gap between technology and medical care.
For me, QUANTIOME is going to bridge that gap.
Speaking of Popular Apps and How People Like to Swipe Right, Can Tell Us More About That?
If you look at some of those apps and one of the ones you’re referring to is Tinder, there is scientific data behind why it works. In behavioral psychology, swiping right is associated with being positive. It taps into primary human nature.
In academic medicine, there are labs dedicated to studying technology and how to humanize it. Two labs, in particular, the People Aware Computing lab at Cornell and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, are focused on this field of study. They connect key players from various industries, to help predict and address human problems that arise from technology.
One of the reasons I started the Center for Precision Medicine was to create a foundation in what we were doing and how we practiced medicine as technology advanced.
Advances in technology can help us in medicine, but the medical world needs to use judgment and meet technology halfway.
What Do You Say to Doctors Who Are Either Resistant to or Reluctant to Embrace These Changes?
In my career, I face that often. I think there are a lot of reasons for doctors to resist change.
Doctors learn a specific approach, and they stick to that approach. They don’t want to risk anything, because, above all, a doctor should not harm.
There’s so much to learn in medicine, and it’s so “new” that doctors tend to stick with what they know, what they graduated with, and don’t change frequently.
My approach is to use data and experience. What helped me, in particular, is doing a lot of scientific research and working with people deliberately.
I think many doctors are frustrated by limitations, but they don’t know how to change. If you approach them human-to-human and, most of all, when they realize their frustration, compassion kicks in, and they begin to change. And that happens to all of us.
In my experience, if you approach them in that fashion, you gain a lot of traction. However, there will always be people who are reluctant to change and will go kicking and screaming into the world.
I heard a very moving presentation by Abraham Verghese at the Future of Individualized Medicine. He said we’ll be freed up as physicians to look deeper into the story of the human being. The technological world will help take the burden of assembling and interpreting data in ways that enable us to figure out what’s going on with patients.
In essence, technology will help us get back to resembling the old-fashioned doctors we once loved. We won’t be facing a computer, we’ll be facing humans again.