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Can Digital Technology Help Reduce the Risks of Medical Malpractice?


This article will take a look at some of the recent advancements in healthcare tech, as well as how it can reduce and eliminate the chances of medical malpractice…



From 2020- 2021, there were just under 13,000 medical negligence claims made against the NHS. In the UK, the most common forms of medical malpractice include surgical mistakes and birth injuries. If you or a loved one are effected by medical negligence, you can make a claim or in worst cases, a clinical negligence inquest may have to be carried out.



Despite the volume of claims being made, many hold hope that the development of new healthcare technologies may reduce the chances of medical negligence occurring. Developments such as Artificial Intelligence can help provide greater accuracy and precision when treating and diagnosing patients.



Read on to find out more about healthcare technology and its ability to reduce medical malpractice…


Artificial Intelligence: a New Innovation in Healthcare Technology



Firstly, we’ll take a look at some of the newest technological innovations in the medical field and how they are transforming diagnosis, treatment and record-keeping.



One of the biggest and newest technological developments in the healthcare field is Artificial intelligence. At the moment, it is still in its very early stages however, AI has been used in a number of trials to diagnose illnesses such as, mental health conditions and common paediatric diseases. Below we’ll take a look at two examples where AI has been successful…



Early Detection of Eye Diseases



In London, the Moorfields Eye Hospital teamed up with Google’s DeepMind to develop an AI system that can identify up to 50 common eye conditions. Using diagnostic algorithms, the researchers fed the system with around 15,000 eye scans. With an accuracy rate of 94.5%, if rolled out, the system could help cut the current NHS backlog by helping medical professional prioritise patients with more urgent needs.


Detecting Metastatic Breast Cancer



Another development made by Google is the Lymph Node Assitant (LYNA), which has helped reduce the current time pathologists spend detecting breast cancer. LYNA works by using a deep learning algorithm to examine slide samples.



Pathologists usually spend a lot of time analysing the slides with patients, waiting anything from 2 to 10 days. However, it only took LYNA 116 seconds to read and examine a slide and patients could therefore get the result in a day.



On the whole, recent AI developments have the potential to reduce waiting times and the current NHS backlog, increase accuracy and lessen doctors’ workloads.


The Benefits of Healthcare Technology



With these amazing advancements above, let’s take a look at the benefits of new technological advancements in the healthcare industry…


Wider Availability of Knowledge



With the extensive array of different specialisms in the medical field, it can sometimes be hard for healthcare professionals to always make the correct referral or recommendation if your condition is not in their expertise. Additionally, the time it can take if you’re being coordinated between different specialists could have a worsening impact on your condition.


However, with the assistance of AI, technology can now be used to process information at a quicker speed and suggest possible diagnoses. This can therefore help specialists narrow down their choices and take the workload off them.



Removing the Blame



In rare and unfortunate circumstances, it is important to accept that accidents and mistakes do happen. However, if both the healthcare professional and the machine both arrive at the same misdiagnosis, it may be easier for the patient to accept it wasn’t just a careless mistake or a bad instance of negligence. And that it was, instead, just a rare and underexplored case that there wasn’t enough information on.



Simplifying Procedures



With the help of new and innovative healthcare technology, complicated procedures that once took a long time are now becoming shorter and more simplified. In turn, this increases healthcare productivity, reduces waiting times, and increases the accuracy and effectiveness of diagnoses and treatment.



Less Human Error



Technological advances in healthcare have resulted in less human error in the whole medical field. This includes, the diagnoses, treatment, the operating theatre, as well as medical filing and recording keeping. Undoubtedly, this causes a reduction in medical negligence cases and inquests.


Health Technology and the Future



While new technologies in the healthcare industry are very promising and are proven to reduce medical negligence, it is important to bear in mind these advancements are still very infant. Also, some diseases and conditions are rare and under-researched and therefore mistakes are sadly bound to happen.


That being said, the AI industry offers plenty of innovative and exciting ideas and opportunities, and is likely to expand in the next few years. Recent trials have also shown there is a strong correlation between these new technologies and a drastic reduction in medical malpractice.


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