PODCAST: On Replacing Doctors with Computers and Smart Phones

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Eric Topol on Replacing Clinicians with Algorithms

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™


BU Dr. MarcinkoRecently, I wrote an ME-P questioning the need for a medical license in order to treat patients.

Boy, did I receive unkind private comments and phone calls on that op-ed piece!

The idea was not my own and, in fact, was proposed more than a decade ago by Shirley Svorny PhD, chairwoman of the economics department at California State University, Northridge. She holds a PhD in economics from UCLA

Her simple rationale was that licensure may be a barrier to competition and hence health care.

Link: Will Future Doctors Need a Medical License?

Enter Dr. Topol

Now, we learn that Eric Topol MD, Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and [Editor-in-Chief of Medscape] is questioning whether doctors will be replaced by algorithms. He cites dermatology, optometry and pediatrics as first-mover smart-phone applications.

The idea was really precipitated by Vinod Khosla at the Rock Health Program on Health Innovation, when he said that 80% of doctors are going to be replaced by algorithms [Pareto’s rule].


Doctor joining the ME-P



And so, please enjoy this video presentation of Eric as he describes his healthcare vision of the future.

Link: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/805212?src=wnl_edit_specol&uac=193200AX


Of course, this flies in the face of all those projections about hundreds of thousands of doctor shortages over the next 10 years because of the Baby Boomer problem, the aging of the population, as well as the chronic disease burden.



And so, will doctors worker harder, or smarter, in the future? Will the lack of capacity be countered by improvements in efficiency? What will happened to provider reimbursement?

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com


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3 Responses

  1. Using Cell Phones to Supply X-Ray Copies

    I have recently discovered a novel approach for patients to get a copy of their x-rays. They simply take a picture with their cell phone while the x-rays are being viewed on a plain old-fashioned view box. They come out great! They are also able to enlarge the view like any other photo. I don’t know if they print well.

    George Jacobson DPM
    [Hollywood, FLA]
    via PMNews #5,151`


  2. Study: 3/4 of Nurses Very Positive About Workplace Smartphone Messaging

    According to a recent study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, a communication system based on smartphone messaging assisted with increase efficiency and accountability among nurses and physicians. Below are the findings:

    • 82.8% of medical trainees and 78.3% of the nursing staff said the communication system helped them work through their daily tasks quicker.
    • 67.1% of medical trainees and 73.2% of nurses either agreed or strongly agreed that the communication system made them more accountable in their clinical roles.
    • .8% of physicians and 26.3% of nurses said the system was useful for communicating complex issues.

    Source: Becker’s Health IT & CIO


  3. Docs and PCs

    A New Hampshire judge has upheld his decision to deny an 84-year-old doctor’s request to regain her license to practice, which she had surrendered partly over her inability to use a computer.




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