The Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona (CZFB) has organized the Barcelona New Economy Week (BNEW), which is being held this week at the Consorci’s DFactory. In this third edition, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) in the medical sector have starred in one of the talks. Chandana Fitzerald, Chief Medical Officer of Healthxl, Ferran Fillat, Chief Medical Officer of TailorSurgery, Jordi Colomer Health Consultant of VDMHealth and Jordi Ferrer, its CEO, have held a round table in which they have talked about how AI and robotics are going to define the health industry.
The implementation of artificial intelligence in hospitals is still premature, as explained by Ferran Fillat, who explained that we are in an “initial phase of digitization in medicine”, although he is optimistic: “We will need a few years to be able to adopt it. We are at the beginning of digital surgery, which will probably be the future”. In the field of traumatology, technology is already playing an important role with 3D printing in orthopedic surgery, but it has yet to be explored in other specialties. Along the same lines, Jordi Ferrer stated that “implementation is scarce and incipient in some aspects”. Actually only 3% of surgeries performed in Spain have a robot in charge. “Robotics has started but robots are not yet autonomous, they are instruments that help to operate, but they do not operate”, added Ferran Fillat.
The speakers have pointed out the need to introduce changes in the training of doctors, which is not yet digitalized, as a way of changing the paradigm. At the moment, society is reluctant to technology in consultations and hospitals. “The health sector has not yet recovered from “medical error is human”. It is a cure for humility because we still do not know more than what we are trying to fix”, concluded Jordi Colomer.
Prescriptions without errors, proposals to the doctor, surgical intervention devices and the patients’ own mobiles as a diagnostic tool, are some of the ideas that the speakers have shown. Jordi Ferrer the CEO of VDMHealth has spoken of the importance of data. Thanks to them, they have developed a technology that allows vital signs to be measured through a mobile camera.
In the round table they have also discussed the need for artificial intelligence to help make “more inductive and less deductive” decisions, and they emphasize changing culture more than technology. “Doctors don’t know about AI and we apply the medicine that they have taught us: if we doctors don’t understand it, we will patient them less”, explained Ferrán Fillat. This traumatologist believes that artificial intelligence must be prescribed for those treatments that benefit the patient. In this regard, Jordi Ferrer added: “AI is not understood, it is the ready machine, it does not want to replace the doctor but to give it value. We are going to understand our elements, that the authorities allow us to grow in these new issues.”
The challenge of technology, as they have explained, is to create added value in consultations, hospitals and operating rooms, using data management to put an end to the disparity of criteria.