By Pauline T. Mayer
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already a major tool within the medical sector and is already being used for operations and spotting tumors. It is also estimated that medical AI will replace a vast number of jobs over the next decade as it continues to evolve.
But did you know that women may remain largely unaffected by changes that are happening today and, indeed, are predicted to happen over the next few years? You can’t know what will happen, but the rapid expansion of AI may not be as bad as you think.
More Human Care and Compassion
A recent report by Mckinsey Global Institute suggests that the medical sector may need to rapidly grow in line with an aging population. This is good news for female medical staff who represent a large number of the medical care sector and one industry where the underrepresentation of women in management isn’t as bad as in other sectors. The same report suggests that there will be almost 4 million new jobs for in-home nurses and personal care.
Many nursing homes and other personal care services are already struggling, and there are many recruitment drivers happening all over the world, with demand outstripping demand by large amounts, mainly because AI cannot deliver compassion in the same way as a female nurse. The human touch is needed in care and nursing to make relevant decisions and provide the assistance a patient needs. AI in medicine, like most sectors, is best used supplementally.
Medical AI as Supplemental Care
There is hardly a sector on the planet where AI isn’t being used in some way today. From helping with retail stock inventory to co-creating works of production art, AI is changing the way all sectors operate. Yet, if you work in the care and nursing sector, you will find AI is being used to help operational efficiency rather than supplying the care that really only a human can. It is believed that AI will assist with making decisions and boost how well certain jobs can be done.
Like any good AI system, medical AI must be able to learn. This helps the algorithms grow and expand as they build upon their data for making or suggesting decisions. These decisions and suggestions are then passed on to you as a worker, which you can use to your advantage. However, it always takes a certain level of human judgment that a machine cannot. This includes traditionally female roles such as caring for elderly patients and supplemental care.
Reasons Care Needs Humans
The human touch is vital when it comes to medical treatments. Far from the data and technical side of things, patients require care and compassion, and a machine, AI, and tech cannot offer these. Yet there are deeper issues when it comes to the human requirement of medical care.
Some people don’t trust AI
One of the simplest reasons for addressing AI in the medical field is that there is a mistrust of AI, especially in the senior care sector, where women are the preferred and best providers.
AI doesn’t have accurate knowledge
Some AI is indistinguishable from humans with great success in providing low-level care, such as pregnancy ChatBot queries. Yet AI such as ChatGPT can deliver inaccurate medical advice.
Inadequate tech and diversity
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted racial and social diversity issues when it comes to healthcare. And using AI and tech for better healthcare isn’t possible for some minorities.
There is a deep mistrust of AI when it comes to certain things. These stretch far and wide through all ages, but mostly senior patients who prefer traditional female-led roles in care. AI is also unable to provide accurate medical data this time, and older people can’t use the tech.
Automated Medical AI Roles
You may be pretty far from an entirely automated system and robot doctors, but AI is being used across all medical sectors right now, and you may not even know it. For example, ChatBots are used on many medical websites and are offered as alternatives when GPs aren’t available. As mentioned, female-led roles in care and compassion are yet to remain largely unaffected by the advent of AI. However, some other traditionally female jobs are in the medical and care field.
Jobs relating to administration could be under threat as AI proved effective when performing specific tasks. AI can already act as a virtual receptionist, but for the most part, it will be used as a supplemental tool to speed things up and make things work. This is great news for men and women in supplemental medical roles. In non-medical tasks, there is still a need for a certain level of care and compassion. And can a machine approximate the care needed for privacy?
It is unfair to identify AI as the enemy of female jobs, or any jobs for that matter, in the medical sector. AI has been a Godsend to some practices, hospitals, and clinics where there is a genuine shortage of skilled workers for some tasks. Economic factors are really to blame for jobs being filled by AI, where management has to make decisions that can provide what they need at the time. Is it not in the industry’s best interests to therefore try to attract more women?
Getting more women into much-needed roles within the medical field is a must for continued compassionate care across the board. However, there needs to be something of a paradigm shift as to how this is done. Even today, women are paid around 24% less than their male counterparts doing the same job. So the question needs to be asked, why on earth would women continue to enter a field where they are not treated as equals, even compared to AI?
There is no doubt that Medical AI is growing at a fast pace, just like any other. But there is a marked difference between AI, such as writing assistance and providing care. In fact, medical AI really cannot provide compassionate care as a male or female nurse could. Because of this, traditional female roles aren’t under as much threat as people assume. However, AI can replace certain female roles, such as admin. But the real threat comes from the social side of unfair treatment.