Five reasons why Primary Care Physicians might get replaced by computers


Computers are getting smarter, better, and more personable, there’s no doubt about it.  Will there ever come a time, however, when computers get so good at human interaction that even the highest-skilled in the work force — primary care physicians (PCPs) — go the way of the travel agent?

I began wondering this a few months ago after listening to Dr. Martin Kohn, a physician who works at IBM Research and works on integrating the Watson supercomputer (of Jeopardy! fame) in healthcare.  He spoke about computer technology changes, their history, and their integration with healthcare.

Could computers be the biggest disruptors of healthcare delivery (and my career as primary care physician)?  Here are five reason why, one day, primary care physicians could possibly be replaced by computer…

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The end of primary care doctors? A call to arms to end the “occipital lobe syndrome”

occipital lobe
No meeting, no forum, no report has left me so fearful for the future of my profession than being a patient.

“Practice transformation,” or how practices can transform into patient-centered medical homes (PCMH), is all the rage. One of the four pillars is “patient-centered care” and emphasizes metrics like same-day appointment availability. (Click for more info on PCMH)

As more and more practices move towards PCMH certification, can primary care physicians make all these changes yet still run their practices like dinosaurs, ripe for extinction? Will we be replaced by the smaller, warm-blooded mammals of walk-in pharmacy clinics and Advanced Nurse Practitioners?

Previously, I would have said, “We will not only survive, we’ll thrive!” Now I’m not too sure.
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