Many patients open to robots instead of doctors

Two out of five Germans can imagine that one day they will consult a computer or robot with artificial intelligence instead of a doctor. This is the result of a survey by the consulting firm PwC, which is available to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur in Berlin.

The prerequisite mentioned in the question is that the "robo-doctor" works faster and more efficiently than a doctor. 43 percent of respondents also said they would even let a robot operate on them for a minor procedure. One in four fundamentally opposes the idea of a "robo-doc".

PwC health care expert Michael Burkhart explained that the questions are directed far into the future. In fact, the robot will not replace the doctor in the foreseeable future. But due to advances in areas such as robotics or artificial intelligence, such scenarios might actually be serious to discuss in a few years' time.

Two-thirds of respondents believe that robotics and artificial intelligence will improve medical care. According to the survey, however, many people are skeptical about the development — for example, about medicine without a human factor altogether. Many respondents also expressed concern about whether a "robo-doctor" would still function if something unexpected happened during therapy.

In the case of diabetes, more than one in two would be willing to be guided in treatment via PC, tablet or smartphone. 19 percent of respondents strongly opposed the idea, while 22 percent were more skeptical.

In the eastern German states, the approval ratings for the technical scenarios are consistently somewhat higher than in the west. According to the study authors, this could also be due to the fact that access to medical services is more difficult there because of the low population density and long distances involved.

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