Doctors better at diagnosis than computers: Research

AFP | Oct 13, 2016, 05.15 PM IST

Despite all of the health apps, trackers and modern technology available to us, it seems nothing beats a visit to the doctor according to research out this week from Harvard University.

Carried out by researchers from Harvard Medical School, the team asked 234 internal medicine physicians to evaluate 45 clinical cases and make the most likely diagnosis of the condition, along with two additional possible diagnoses.

The cases included a mix of both common and uncommon conditions with varying degrees of severity.

Each case was solved by at least 20 physicians, with the doctors’ diagnosis then compared with 23 commonly used symptom-checker apps.

Symptom-checker apps have increased in popularity over the last decade partly in an effort to reduce medical and diagnostic errors, however this new study is thought to be the first to directly compare diagnoses between humans andcomputers.

The results showed that the physicians outperformed the apps, naming the correct diagnosis first 72% of the time, compared with just 34% of the time for the apps.