As a huge Star Wars fan and someone with a keen interest in digital health, I felt this post was spot on. There's no question that healthcare is already benefiting hugely from automation and will continue to do so. For instance AI is being applied intelligently to perform directed tasks such as cancer detection.
But will healthcare ever be entirely delivered by technology, as George Lucas envisioned in Star Wars? We don't think so - no amount of automation or tech can displace the importance of human interaction in healthcare. Several highly credible teams are already building an AI doctor that can accurately diagnose patients from the symptoms they present. No matter how accurate, would you ever trust a potentially life-altering diagnosis formed and delivered entirely by a machine and without human oversight?
The importance of human interaction in healthcare also underlies our recent investment in Push Doctor. We see this as a good example of where technology should be used to facilitate human interaction, rather than replace it.
In his iconic Star Wars series, George Lucas envisioned a world in a galaxy far, far away, where, among other things, doctors were droids and bots. In this world, a droid surgeon fitted Luke Skywalker with a bionic hand after a fight with Darth Vader, a bot midwife oversaw the delivery of Princess Leia and droids treated Luke Skywalker for hypothermia after his rescue from the icy planet of Hoth. Time and time again, robots, rather than humans, provided healthcare. Lucas viewed medical care as algorithmic, and therefore well within the capacity of intelligent machines. Does the world of healthcare in the Star Wars films — where bots are the new docs — mirror our own not-so-distant future of medicine?