In A Video: The Most Watched Surgeon in the World, Dr. Shafi Ahmad

15 October 2018

Dr. Shafi Ahmad is a Surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, and an Associate Dean at Barts and The London Medical School. He is a futurologist who has a lot of experience in virtual reality and augmented reality. 

During a lecture titled “Digital Changes in Medicine and Education” and given at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture “Ithra,” on October 11, 2018, Dr. Ahmad talked about the coming educational revolution and the role of technology in creating disruption in the fields of medicine and education.

He mentioned that we live in an exciting era, where new technologies are coming out and affecting medicine and education everyday. He said those technologies have the ability to disrupt the medical field to the better. Then he started citing the benefits of the best of these technologies, in his opinion, which is the “holograms”. He says it’ll change the traditional doctor-patient relationship, as it will enable distant examining of the patient, operating and consulting anywhere on earth, and yet maintain the immediate interaction between the doctor and the patient and the medical team.

Dr. Ahmad also mentioned that the current traditional relationship between the doctor and the patient is costly, unpractical and sometimes impossible. This requires us to restructure the current medical system and replace it with a disruptive model that offers medical care to everyone.

Afterwards, the doctor moved to another revolutionary technology, which is artificial intelligence; which he confirms will be effective in providing affordable, equal and obtainable medical care to everyone.

Dr. Ahmad works with his colleagues at Barts and The London Medical School on developing the medical curriculum to include programming skills, design and business entrepreneurship and other technical skills, as he says the current educational system is lacking and one-dimensional. If taught and learned, the technologies can be used in making medical decisions better and faster, suggesting possible diagnosis and treatments, which will help in training doctors and opening new career paths.

Dr. Ahmad continued to list disruptive technologies, and talked about augmented reality, which is a technology that drops virtual objects and information in the user’s real environment with the goal of providing him with additional information or guidance. It is now available in many forms and on many devices like smartphones, tablets and smart glasses. One example of its possible uses in the medical field is for the student or doctor to be asked to interact with his environment with his senses and perform a complete surgery.

The doctor used Google’s smart glasses, in 2014, to broadcast a surgery. And 14000 students from 118 countries watched it. He even interacted with them using the special features of the glasses. After accomplishing much success in this first broadcast, he started using snapchat to broadcast his surgeries. Websites and newspapers were eager to publish this story, which attracted 2 million views of his account. This proves technology’s ability to change the educational process in a simple and affordable manner.

The doctor talked more about digital -3 dimensional- visuals, and mentioned “HoloLens” that can move the user -virtually- through space. If used, it would enable doctors to treat patients in other continents, or get more than one doctor in the same room to examine a certain patient. Finally, he spoke about the plan to use robots in operation rooms to help surgeons achieve the results with more accuracy, or even perform surgeries on their own in the future.

The speaker concluded his lecture with a request to spread knowledge and share it.. saying that everyone has some knowledge and a platform to share it as social media connects everyone today.

“TANWEEN” is ongoing until October 27, 2018. King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture “Ithra” aims to set a new standard of excellence and distinction in the creativity and culture sectors, with the goal of offering and developing innovative knowledge products; in addition to interacting with partners and visitors to push for a sustainable creative and cultural societies.