New study says digital tools will support not replace people in healthcare

31 December 2020

One of the recurrent themes in society’s bold move towards a digital future is how this trend could spell the end of peoples’ involvement in a whole range of industries and professions including healthcare. 

But the truth of the matter, notes Monash University Professor Chris Bain, who is the Professor of Practice in Digital Health, Faculty of Information Technology, is that it is quite likely that digital tools will support people in the healthcare sector rather than replace them. 

“Doctors and nurses will always work with patients: a machine or a robot is never going to replace a human connection. But where technology can be useful in health is in supporting some decision-making tasks, in communication and in managing data.” 

He goes on to note that these tools can play a vital role in assisting a range of healthcare determinations. 

“Computers work by using ones and zeros to make decisions. That’s very absolute and very precise, but the key is knowing when that capability is useful in healthcare and when it’s not.” 

He gives the example of a relatively junior doctor working in a regional hospital who can use technology to augment their own knowledge, allowing them to treat very sick patients on their own. 

To ensure these tools are effective as they can, Professor Bain makes it clear that they must developed in consultation with healthcare professionals. 

“There’s strong evidence from around the world that technology will bring considerable benefits to our healthcare systems, but first it’s important that we develop digital tools that meet health needs through complementing the skills of clinicians.” 

You can learn more about Professor Bain’s work and his unique, first of a kind role in the faculty by going to Digital Health