Will Technology Eliminate Doctors in the Future?

future of medicineIf you’re a doctor—or plan a medical or healthcare marketing career—you can take a seat. There is (or will be) an app for that. If the futurologists are right, technology will eliminate doctors (and the need for physician marketing) in just a couple of decades.

Agree or disagree? Let us know what you think about this future view. Here’s some of the evidence that’s reshaping our tech-driven world.

Technology, computers, software and robots are replacing people and processes in ways that would have sounded like fanciful science fiction a few years ago. Consider that:

  • Airbnb, a global hotel business, doesn’t own any hotels or BnBs
  • Amazon became the largest retail business with no retail stores
  • Digital cameras don’t use film and require no chemical processing
  • Uber, a major transportation company, doesn’t own cars or taxis

Above and beyond the personal wearable devices that count calories or record physical activity, IBM’s Watson is adept at medical decision-making and diagnosis. Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are “learning” to interpret Xrays, MRIs, and other images as a radiologist does today.

And the payoff for the Qualcomm Tricorder X prize is approaching. Named after the fictional Star Trek medical device, scientific teams are in competition to build an automatic, non-invasive device that can diagnose over a dozen medical conditions. (Grand Prize is $10 Million.) If—or maybe when—someone pulls it off, diagnostic capabilities will be less doctor-reliant, and widely available.

Robots replacing doctors?

Some highly intelligent people who study what the world will look like in the not-so-distant future predict that machines (AKA highly skilled robots) will replace doctors, lawyers and accountants within 20 years. Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at London Business School, and futurologist David A. Smith compiled a forward-looking report about future jobs. Some work, they conclude, will be done more efficiently by AI machines.

“Futurologist David A. Smith said in many sectors machines will produce better solutions to problems than the average human,” the Mirror reported. “As a result of advances in machine learning, the task of interrogating large amounts of data is likely to become fully-automated, making jobs with any systematic component vulnerable. In fields such as law, accountancy and medicine, machines are likely to produce generally better answers than humans.”

What do you think?

IBM’s Watson is a supercomputer that thrives on working with, and learning from, massive amounts of data. OK. Advantage, AI robot.

That said, we have to wonder how Watson would be graded by the typical human being who expects a face-to-face, human provider in a doctor’s office? The final score is due in about 20 years. There is no doubt that modern medical science and healthcare delivery systems will be different and better in the future.

We’d like to know what you think. Note your comments below or send an email to editor(at)healthcaresuccess.com. We do not expect that even the smartest AI machinery will have mastered the nuances and expectations of a positive patient experience.

For related reading, see:

Stewart Gandolf, MBA, CEO

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.



Your proposal will include:

Competitor Intel


Our Pricing

...and much more!

“Despite practicing in a hyper-competitive market, our new-patient counts are double what they were for the same time period last year. Hiring Healthcare Success was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.”

– Jonathan Calure, MD