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Artificial Intelligence in Trauma and Emergency Surgery: what is next?

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a disrupting technology that is having a significant impact in all sectors, including healthcare.

In particular, in medicine and surgery, AI is able to provide clinical personnel with significant support in decisions, both in terms of diagnostics and the choice of different options (for instance, the need to define possible risks and complications upstream).

There are specific contexts, like the one of emergency and trauma surgery, in which clinicians must act quickly, under tremendous pressure and often with a lack of information regarding the patient, his/her previous pathologies, and treatment preferences.

AI in this specific context could offer relevant support to physicians. Still, it is essential to understand the users’ perceptions concerning these new tools.

To explore these issues in the field, the ITIR team has recently conducted a survey in collaboration with one of the largest scientific societies worldwide in the field of emergency surgery and trauma, the World Society of Emergency Surgery, which has nearly 1,000 members from all over the world. 650 surgeons from 71 different countries on all continents responded to our study.

The survey results underline that there is still much to be done in this area. Although 70% of surgeons declare that they are fully aware of the meaning and potential of AI, the survey found that only 17% of the sample knows the characteristics of this technology in depth.

Furthermore, the international surgical community seems to be split into two groups: those who firmly believe in the potential of AI, especially in the near future, and who enthusiastically see the contribution that AI can offer to clinical practice, and those who are sceptical.

In general, therefore, the technical knowledge of AI-based is underdeveloped, and surgeons prefer to adopt traditional techniques (such as guidelines, training, or the support of colleagues) to make their decisions.

It emerges a call for action for scientific societies, universities, and industry leaders that deal with highly technological devices to educate and train surgeons on the countless functions and opportunities offered by this emerging technology.

The first results of the investigation can be read at the following link: