Can technology have an impact on medical negligence?



Medical negligence claims are a surprisingly common occurrence, with many patients believing that they’ve been let down by the healthcare system.

The price of these claims puts strain on the British health care system – and forecasts suggest it’s likely that the cost of medical negligence claims will double 2023.

So, how can the medical industry tackle the problem?

In this article, we’ll discuss two emerging technologies that could have a significant impact on medical negligence.

But first, a brief look at medical negligence and its key causes.

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is demonstrably substandard care that patients receive from medical professionals.

In order to be classed as medical negligence, the care needs to directly cause injury or cause an existing condition to get worse.

If someone has received such substandard care, they have a right to seek compensation for the damage caused.

If they want to do this, they need to instruct no win no fee medical negligence lawyers to help them seek justice.

According to The Rising Cost of Clinical Negligence: Who Pays the Price?, a study by the Medical Protection Society, some key themes regularly associated with medical negligence claims include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to refer or seek a second opinion
  • Improper surgical technique

Technologies that could make a difference

Traditionally, clinicians try to reduce clinical negligence with more rigorous record-keeping. However, emerging technologies could provide alternative solutions.

In particular, artificial intelligence and augmented reality are both poised to make a difference in the coming years.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With the ability to process information faster than even the world’s smartest doctor, it’s likely that artificial intelligence could help doctors provide a greater standard of care.

Artificial intelligence uses algorithms to quickly identify and extract patterns in data sets. Given a set of symptoms and measurements that a doctor takes from a patient, AI could compare these with databases of information to calculate potential diagnoses.

With these tasks outsourced to AI, the doctor would be freed up to choose from the options and better make critical judgements.

AI could also use inform a doctor if the case falls outside of their domain of expertise. This could prompt the doctor to make a referral or seek a second opinion.

  • Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is another exciting technology with the potential to reduce medical negligence cases stemming from improper surgical techniques.

Using augmented reality during surgery could result in increased dexterity and precision, improving surgeons’ ability to perform complex procedures and facilitating improved performance.

Although the technology is still young, there have been promising results in using Microsoft® HoloLens 2 as an AR guidance system during maxillary osteotomies.

Can technology help reduce medical negligence cases?

It seems likely that in coming years, improvements and innovations in technology will help medical professionals deliver higher standards of care.

In theory, this could lead to fewer demonstrable cases of clinical negligence.

But only time will tell if this will be the result we see in practice.

Yet even if the technologies themselves don’t make as big a difference as is hoped, they could do much to restore public confidence in healthcare services.

In cases of rare conditions or risky procedures, the knowledge that professionals are using the most cutting-edge technology available could help patients come to terms with what happened without assigning blame.

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