Friday, December 7, 2012

Who Needs a Doctor When You Have an IPhone?

Technology pioneer Vinod Khosla has a great article about increasing the use of technology in the medical profession. He asserts that doctors are not all that good at diagnosis--there is too much information, and the knowledge base is constantly increasing:
Today's diagnoses are partially informed by patients' medical histories and partially by symptoms (but patients are bad at communicating what's really going on). They are mostly informed by advertising and the doctor's half-remembered and potentially obsolete lessons from medical school (which are laden with cognitive biases, recency biases, and other human errors). Many times, if you ask three doctors to look at the same problem, you'll get three different diagnoses and three different treatment plans. ...
Healthcare should become more about data-driven deduction and less about trial-and-error. That's hard to pull off without technology, because of the increasing amount of data and research available. Next-generation medicine will utilize more complex models of physiology, and more sensor data than a human MD could comprehend, to suggest personalized diagnosis. Thousands of baseline and multi-omic data points, more integrative history, and demeanor will inform each diagnosis. Ever-improving dialog manager systems will help make data capture and exploration from patients more accurate and comprehensive. Data science will be key to this. In the end, it will reduce costs, reduce physician workloads, and improve patient care. 
I am looking forward to a daily snapshot of my health, courtesy of my phone. That day is clearly at hand.

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