Tele-Robotic Consultations: Imagine the Possibilities

The integration of robots into healthcare could lead to all kinds of possibilities -- good and bad, expected and unexpected.

Many years ago, I participated in a tele-proctored surgery demonstration. I was in Denver whispering in the ear of a surgeon in Hawaii while viewing the procedure via a smart cam. Tele-robotic surgery, where someone like me would actually do the surgery on a patient in Hawaii with someone there standing by evolved not too much later. Now, with deep learning and intelligence, computers and avatars are replacing humans. The only question seems to be how soon and which ones.

Imagine the possibilities:

1. Tele-behavioral and tele-psychiatry patients falling in love with their operating systems.

2. Endless hacking and cybersecurity breaches.

3. Virtual sex therapists becoming the new pornography with endless extortion options.

4. The bursting of the medical education bubble with all those out-of-work physiology instructors driving for Uber or working for grocery delivery services.

5. Nobody ever, ever again complaining about their doctor's bedside manner.

6. Time sensitive billing and collection options.

7. Creating CPT codes, RVUs (interesting to see how much a robot is worth compared to a human), and E/M codes for robotic visits. Paying less for more and more intelligence could be the first example of Moore's Law in sick care.

8. The perfect pitch for investors using holographic presenters who will never miss a beat at the Shark Tank.

9. Investors will be investing virtual money for virtual robots pitched by those virtual entrepreneurs.

10. A run on solar power generators when the last thing in the world you want is to not be able to reach your doctor with terrorists hack the grid.

It's time to put yourself out of business before Watson does and become a leisurepreneur, finding things for people to do with all that spare time. And don't forget to renew your subscription to Sports Illustrated-the VR edition.