Healthcare Reform and Technology.

2 Responses

  1. Margaret says:

    Interesting thoughts, David. I think there was one small step in this direction with the installation of blood pressure monitoring devices in places like Walmart. Definitely a savings in time and money to be able to check it yourself. Also definitely a plus in preventative medicine since some people who might not have gone to the doctor and had their blood pressure checked would do it at Walmart and then could decide to followup with their doctor. Even the fact that people can purchase blood pressure cuffs and perform blood pressure checks at home is an improvement…I remember when only doctors and nurses had them.

    I think more centralized areas like this where people could perform screening free of charge would be a good idea. For people with specific complaints some sort of monitoring like you suggest would be good, too. They have automatic implanted cardiac defibrillator devices that can shock peoples hearts if a tiny computer implanted in the patient senses that their heart rhythm has become irregular. Here’s a link to an interesting article on them – http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/162245-overview

    I think your thoughts are good and that we have the potential to move more in this direction. I think that health is very complex and that there are many, many problems that need the input of a human being to evaluate, but that automated screening could definitely be a plus.

    I also support electronic medical records. I recently went to a surgeon and described adverse reactions to anesthesia with 3 other surgeries. The doctor did not have access to those records and so I was left trying to remember what anesthesia was used for each procedure and what my reactions were and now I’m in the process of providing written consent to those 3 doctors so my records can be mailed to the new surgeon so he has a complete view of my history. Given an emergency situation time wouldn’t allow for the gathering of this data and he would have to rely on my imperfect memory and my recollection of what I was told as opposed to actual data. centralized electronic medical records would have all that information readily available and could prove lifesaving.

    So, I thought this was an interesting and thought-provoking article, especially as someone in the healthcare field. I think some of your ideas may be impractical, but others definitely worth considering. I think one thing you have to remember is that medicine today is all about money, in many ways. The pharmaceutical companies fund the colleges that educate the doctors who treat us with their drugs. What is income generating is often the bottom line, not for the individual doctor, but for the drug companies and hospitals.

  2. Andrew Vogel says:

    They would need to add the Zeo on along with physicals in your scenario. The doctor is doing more than just recording a few stats. If he wasn’t, then a nurse would handle the procedure. But it’s his experience looking for things out of the ordinary that our iPods or whatever have no ability to do.

    It’s like giving someone a program for their PC that makes sure the firewall stays on and pings keep working and too many errors are not recorded in the event logs.

    You will result with
    1) most problems NOT being reported
    2) a lot of FALSE positives as well

    This is not to say the tool couldn’t be helpful, but with a physical body I don’t really believe a device could be trained to know YOUR physical body well enough to spot abnormalities the way a doctor could. Or even come close.

    Physical visits also are not really a problem with doctors as far as I am concerned. I don’t have to wait when I get a physical. Nor do the physicals charge the crazy charges that drive up healthcare costs. Instead suppose I get an MRI – ($2000 I think?), or an infusion for some drug – ($8,000 about). Much more significant numbers.

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