In this video, Ranjith Ramasamy, MD, shares some of the key findings from the recent State of Urology survey conducted by investigators at the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the University of Miami in Florida.
To begin, Ramasamy shared insight on findings suggesting that artificial intelligence (AI) will play an increasing role in the field. Overall, the survey found that 47% of urologists believed that the development of new technologies will have the biggest impact on urology in the coming years. Additionally, Ramasamy discussed findings from the patient-centric portion of the survey, which highlighted potential barriers to care. Overall, 37% of respondents felt that seeing a urologist would involve uncomfortable, embarrassing, or invasive procedures, and 28% believed that urologists mostly specialize in treating prostate-related conditions.
Ramasamy is the director of reproductive urology at DSUI.
What were the key findings from urologists?
We surveyed close to 2000 urologists. We asked them specific questions about what the current state of the urology is, what some of the current gaps are, who they are collaborating with, what specialties outside of urology they are working with pretty closely, and where they think the future is going to be heading. Some of the key findings that we were already aware of, but we were very happy to find, is that we think that AI, artificial intelligence, is going to play a very important role in medical decision-making. I think we do know what that is right now, but I think that field is rapidly evolving. There are lots of unknowns, because as urologists, we are not very familiar with what happens in the back end with the AI. Some of the key findings in the survey discussed how urologists need to play an active role in incorporating both artificial intelligence and language learning and visual learning models into our routine practice. For example, an MRI of the prostate is currently being read by radiologists, and there's a lot of subjectivity to it, because one radiologist could read it with one grade of cancer, one radiologist with another grade of cancer, another radiologist may say, "this is not even cancer". Trying to bring in some sort of standardization into a subjective process using AI, I think will be critical. Those were some of the findings that we knew were going to happen, but it's very nice to know that the urologists in the field are also thinking about.
What were the key findings from patients?
There is a common conception among patients that a urologist visit often involves a prostate exam. A prostate exam is an uncomfortable part of the visit and patients try to avoid a urologist visit because they automatically think that they're going to get a prostate exam. Urologists thankfully do way more than just prostate exams and prostate cancer and enlarged prostate. They take care of kidney stones, incontinence, fertility issues, sexual dysfunction, and other types of cancers like kidney cancer and bladder cancer that don't need a prostate exam. I think it's important for PCPs to work in tandem with urologists to dispel the myth that a urologist visit often needs a prostate exam. I think even in the era of MRI of prostate, we as a field are also moving away from doing routine digital rectal exams. There are new guidelines now from the AUA on the screening for prostate cancer, where men only between the ages of 55 to 70, if they don't have any family history of prostate cancer, require a DRE. That too, has now been moved on from annually, if there is no risk and abnormalities, to every other year. I think patients need to understand that just because you're going to a urologist doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get a prostate exam, because if you have other complaints that you need to see a urologist for, they can absolutely help you regardless of having a prostate exam.
This transcription has been edited for clarity.