This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Soramon Chaichan, a second year Medicine student from Khonkaen University. She is also affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
During the 4th industrial revolution, technology plays multiple important roles in medical practice. With its abilities to promptly deal with complexity, these innovations can reduce workload, and also job opportunities, from medical staffs. To be prepared for the upcoming changes, there are two main skills considered essential for medical students: 1.The creative correlative skill and 2.Empathic skill.
While technological systems are effective in analyzing information and versatilely combing multiple angles of knowledge together, human are responsible for setting the prototype for them to do those functions. The creative correlative skill, the ability to see problematic factors and to turn them into relevant relationships, is the skills that make human doctor stands out from those so-called smart systems.
For example, doctors discovered the relationship between blood sugar and diabetes; then they assigned the system to repeatedly collect the vital value and analyze the severity of patients. With resemble patterns of patients and disease, solely technological system is enough. However, in real life, there are countless diseases waiting to be discovered. As a result, medical students should be trained with skill to detect problems and correlate them, so that the intelligent database could take future action.
Database provides us with evidence based medicine. Even though the data are collected from multiple cases, they may not fit with all patients. To illustrate, two mothers are giving birth to babies and, at the time, they both have exactly same centimeters of cervix dilation. One may experience severe pain; another may feel just fine. Without directly experiencing emotional expression from patients, complete treatment can never be made. Good doctor will naturally understand these differences and treat patients with true human empathy which may never be presented by any lifeless algorithms.
With empathic skills, both in term of perceiving and expressing, the risk of having one-sided relationship which patients being simply dictated with treatments orders become less. When patients became emotionally connected to their doctor, they are more likely to disclose important medical information and to follow the doctor’s advice. Sometimes, when patient expose too much to the information, they might not fully understand the contents given. We, as a future medical profession, also have the responsibility to correct their understanding. This is the art and duty of medicine which I considered very important for medical students.
There is a word said “Nothing limits you like not knowing your limitation”. We, medical students, even the top one, cannot remember all thousands research articles at once; we cannot be entirely sure that our diagnoses will be exactly match with those from other physicians. However, we can create our own novelty by critically make good prototypes so that they can be properly followed by the effective technological system.
With humanistic empathy, we can understand the varied problems our patient encounter which are beyond physical but also psychological. Medical doctors can never be replaced by any cutting edge technology, yet our limitation could be largely widened by using them. I strongly believe individual strength of doctors and technological tools, the product of our thoughts, could be coherently applied to solve challenging problems for better clinical practice together; together we are stronger.