Technology has 'transformed' GI — and physicians must keep up, Medtronic exec says

Technology's presence in medicine is accelerating, and gastroenterology is no exception.

Austin Chiang, MD, chief medical officer of gastrointestinal at Medtronic, spoke with Becker's on April 29 to discuss how gastroenterology tech has evolved and what about it excites and scares him.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: How has GI technology evolved over the past decade?

Dr. Austin Chiang: I think that the technology has totally transformed our field considering that Medtronic GI has an entire business the way it is today that didn't exist when I graduated from medical school a little over 10 years ago. I think in general one of the goals I see especially from the therapeutic GI end of things is that we're trying to make procedures less invasive. I also see certain trends in terms of digital technologies impacting our field and clearly artificial intelligence and machine learning is a part of that most recently.

Q: What scares/excites you the most about these new tech developments?

AC: What excites me the most is that these are truly disruptive technologies and keeping with the times. The internet, the digital age and seeing how that intersects with healthcare is very exciting and not something that I think people would've necessarily imagined several decades ago. What probably scares me the most is that we're moving so quickly now in this very interconnected world and we are able to innovate much more quickly than we have been. Yet as physicians we also need to learn to adapt and be early adopters of new technologies to really keep up with everything that's coming out.

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