Louis Pasquale, MD: Embracing Technology in Medicine

Louis Pasquale, MD, professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discusses how technology and artificial intelligence has been embraced by ophthalmology.

When discussing technology in medicine, perhaps the only thing more impactful than the advances themselves is the attitude of the clinician using it.

A clear testament to the advances of technology in ophthalmology are the presentations and posters at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2019 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, which featured more than 2 dozen pieces of research centered around artificial intelligence and machine learning. Still, all the technology in the world has little value if it is not embraced by those who will use it in their practices.

For Louis Pasquale, professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the continual advancement of artificial intelligence is one of the most exciting aspects of ophthalmology. A co-investigator on multiple pieces of research at AAO 2019 centered around assessing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, Pasquale’s perspective as an educator, researcher, and practicing physician give him a unique vantage point on the topic.

To learn more about how technology has or has not been embraced by ophthalmologists, MD Magazine® sat down with Pasquale between sessions at AAO 2019 to hear his opinion.

MD Mag: What is your perception of ophthalmologists’ attitudes towards AI and machine learning in real-world practice?

Pasquale: That's a great question and I think that ophthalmologists will embrace this because we've always embraced innovation. I don't think we are worried as a field that this is going to replace us—it's not going to replace us. This is going to be a tool that's going to allow us to sift through a lot of data really quickly and come up with something that makes sense for the patient. Now, if the algorithm isn't making sense we have the capability to go back and try to reconcile why that might be the case. That's what we do.

If you were driving your car and the GPS told you that you were going to Oregon but it looks like you're going to Mexico, you're going to say "Wait a minute. There's something wrong here I better check this out and find out what the problem is," and I think that's always going to be the case. That's just human nature as an MD. You're not going to do something blindly just because a computer told you to do it, but we all recognize that I think collectively we and you know there's no sort of survey that's been done I'm kind of speculating a little bit here but I think that ophthalmologists in general are going to embrace this once they see the validation of these types of tools.