When it comes to the daily tasks that a doctor has, there are three clear ‘categories’. If you’re not medically trained then perhaps the easiest way to think of these would be like fires. Let’s break them down:
- A fire in the garden: This is a patient who is clearly ill, and who is deteriorating rapidly. Something needs to be done right now. The waiting list may be too long, and they may need to jump ahead.
- A fire in a different building: This is less urgent, but still a problem. It cannot be neglected, otherwise the fire might spread closer, but it is not as pressing as a fire in the garden. The patient still needs treated promptly.
- A fire much further away: This is unfortunate and it does need taken care of, but it’s a more distant priority. This can wait, perhaps not long, because it will get worse, but if there are more pressing fires to put out then it makes sense to handle them first.
Most service improvement tends to occur in handling the more distant, less pressing priorities, and getting them sorted out before they become serious issues. Traditionally, AI will be integrated into those second or third place areas.
If you take a look at “This is Going to Hurt” by Adam Kay, it explains what life is like as a doctor. Another interesting read is “Do No Harm” by Henry Marsh, who explains the challenges that a consultant faces. Both of these publications show how doctors struggle to deliver good patient care, and how they need systems that will help them to do so.
Putting Patients First
Patients must be prioritised. It is not always easy to do so because there are limits on the workforce and these limits mean that it is harder for large-scale digital transformation to take place. The number of doctors who are even joining into the conversation is not high enough, and we cannot make improvements in patient care without making progress in this area.
AI gets sensationalised in the mainstream media, but healthcare executives and healthcare organisations have a good understanding of when and where AI can be helpful. Operationally, AI can be useful because it will not cause anxiety among doctors or patients. AI is being moved into operational areas first, ahead of those more critical areas, because this will help to limit the fear and risk, and also avoid any disappointment surrounding any limitations that could crop up. AI advocates want to make sure that AI is not over-sold to the market.
At the moment, clinical responsibility is not something that can be given over to a machine. It is not technically possible yet, and even if it was, the ethical implications are another area of concern. Clinicians are highly trained, and as of yet, there is not an algorithm that can make the same decisions in the same way. Clinical AI can improve, learn from humans and reduce the risk to patients, while humans can, and should have the opportunity to over-rule. In essence, at this stage, we are looking at augmented intelligence, rather than full artificial intelligence.
The Big Question
It’s fair to say that AI is right now in the same boat as a graduate who needs the experience to get a job, but can get a job because they have no experience. AI could be trialed, and perhaps should be, but with oversight from real human doctors. It is also possible that places like The Dental Practice could trial AI, in a medical situation that is not as high-stakes as a hospital. Many doctors are struggling with an overflow of patients, and AI could help them by speeding up the diagnostic process.
Could AI help with managing appointments? Could it improve the process of telemedicine? Could it help the workforce by making it easier to take advantage of digital tools? What about using it to process large amounts of data very quickly? There are a lot of areas where AI could do the boring work, freeing up doctors to do what they do best; spend time with patients.
I personally began my yoga practice at an early age, which means I’ve already known for many years how yoga is beneficial to me, just due to how I feel after I do it. Each time I go take a class, I wind up leaving feeling wonderful. It changes my body on a physical level, offers me confidence, and enhances my focus.
When I was in college, I’d go to classes two or three times each week. It took a journey spanning seven years of first learning and then teaching yoga before I truly developed my own daily practice, largely because I started craving it. I took notice of the fact that when I wasn’t practicing, I was feeling mentally and physically worse over the course of the day.
Yoga is Powerful
Don’t procrastinate on a daily practice for so many years as I did. If you’ve ever taken any yoga class and then walked out feeling great, you shouldn’t wait until you have a hard time sleeping at night or injuring yourself thanks to a lack of mobility. If you still need even more reasons to commit to your home practice, then keep reading to go through my list of them. Why not? Yoga truly is all that powerful.
1) After taking the RYT 200 yoga training and learning the techniques, practising yoga, at home, is free!
2) You can do this anywhere! You don’t have to have specialised equipment. You can do it on a floor, on grass, or on a rug. You can travel with your practice when you’re on a trip.
3) You can do yoga in your pyjamas! Just roll right out of bed and onto the floor. You don’t need special gym shoes or fancy yoga clothing.
4) Tailor your practice to you! Go at the pace you like, and use the poses that work best for you. No class can ever do that since every body is distinct. Your body’s needs change every day as it is.
5) Yoga will make you more productive! If you use the common excuse of being too busy and not having time, then just get up 30 minutes earlier so you can practice right away. You’ll soon see how yoga gives you more time for your day.
6) Have more energy! Yoga won’t just make you more efficient in terms of your time through better focus and relaxation, as a morning practice will energise you through increasing both your oxygen intake and blood flow throughout your whole body.
7) Regular yoga helps you get to sleep and stay there. When you bring your attention back to the present and reduce your stress, then a yoga practice can lower your cortisol levels which will stop the thoughts that distract you at night to the point of staying awake.
8) Get stronger! Yoga will help your joints, which can both ameliorate and prevent the impacts of ageing and osteoporosis. This will prevent minor injuries or falls from developing into serious damage!
9) Save your feet! Feet which are bound up inside shoes all day long wind up getting tired and sore. Shoes that aren’t supportive and a lack of exercise for your feet can leave you winding up having pronated ankles and flat feet. That can lead to serious issues like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain. Free your feet!
10) Boost your immune system. Yoga can reduce the stress hormones which compromise your immune system. It also stimulates the digestive tract, heart, and lungs to help your body rid itself of pathogens and toxins, while also draining out the lymphatic system.
11) Get better posture. Your time on your mat develops good postures, which means better postural habits off the mat during the day. You can save your neck and back from longer-term tension. When you hold your head up, you can move throughout your day with confidence and even grace.
12) Reduce your anxiety. When you practice longer inhales and exhales while you focus your mind only on the present, then a yoga routine will help you keep anxiety from happening in the first place.
13) Enjoy some ‘me time’. You need time for some quiet contemplation. Everyone does, particularly if you are a caretaker or work with others all day long. When you care for yourself first, you’ll have more love and energy for others.
14) Decrease your inflammation. Research demonstrates how a yoga practice can decrease the volume of pro-inflammatory molecules within your body. This can inhibit the growth of cancer, particularly benefiting those suffering from fibromyalgia and arthritis.
15) Find your purpose. One powerful use of a daily practice is setting an intention for your day. If you do this, then you’ll prime yourself to go through life with purpose and meaning. Your intention might be as simple as an intention to be mindful of every breath, thought, and movement.