Clinicians in the near future will find themselves working with information networks on a scale well beyond the capacity of human beings to grasp, thereby necessitating the use of intelligent machines to analyse and interpret the complex interactions of data, patients and clinical decision-making. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that aims to embed intelligent behaviour into software in order to achieve narrowly constrained objectives in an increasingly wide domain of practice. In healthcare the field of AI research includes expert systems that provide guidance for clinical decision-making, computer vision algorithms that outperform human beings in the analysis of CT and MRI scans, better diagnostics and prediction of patient outcomes, and enhanced administration and planning. Rapid advances in the areas of information retrieval and retention, problem-solving and reasoning, image recognition, planning, and physical manipulation, will all have an important impact on a variety of professions, including physiotherapy.
But it is also clear that successful clinical practice requires more than an increase in functional intelligence, and that issues of communication, empathy, and creativity are all necessary if we are to ensure that human connection is maintained in future clinical interactions. However, the commercial and technological interests behind the development of artificially intelligent systems in healthcare will drive the introduction of these systems into mainstream clinical practice, possibly with little attention given to those areas of practice that we might consider to be “core”. It is in this context that physiotherapy clinicians will need to learn how to position themselves within collaborative partnerships with intelligent machines, not only because AI will augment and enhance our physical and cognitive abilities but because it will soon be impossible to function without them. Rather than being subject to the decisions of those who are developing AI-based systems in healthcare, clinicians should have a voice in how they are designed, implemented and evaluated.
In order to ensure that we successfully integrate advanced machine intelligence with the essentially human characteristics of empathic, caring and creative clinical practice, we need to first understand how clinicians perceive the introduction of AI into professional practice as well as to identify potential legal, ethical and social implications of this change. It is to this end that Michael Rowe is conducting an international survey of physiotherapy clinicians’ perceptions of AI in clinical practice. If you’re a physiotherapist and would like to add your voice to the conversation around AI in clinical practice, please consider spending 15-20 minutes completing a questionnaire that aims to answer the question What are the perceptions of physiotherapy clinicians around the introduction of artificial intelligence into clinical practice? You don’t need to know anything about AI in order to complete the survey and your input would add a lot to our understanding of how we might better prepare the physiotherapy profession for an AI-enabled future.
Here is the link to the blog post announcement: https://www.mrowe.co.za/blog/2019/08/survey-physiotherapy-clinicians-perceptions-of-artificial-intelligence-in-clinical-practice/
Here is a direct link to the questionnaire: https://forms.gle/HWwX4v7vXyFgMSVLA