No word cloud is needed; we were in one. It’s hard not to be charmed by the brightness of delightful, eager tech-workers who want to make it easier for people to get to doctors they might need. In theory. The ZocDoc space bore no semblance to any hospital or office where I’ve been a doctor or a patient.
If I could pick a field for future investigation that might lead to insight on cancer’s causes and, ultimately, reduce the cancer burden 30 and 50 years from now, I might choose the tiny, under-funded area of environmental oncology
Topol’s comfortable writing about the intersection of science and medicine as few physicians are….One theme that emerges through the book is the capacity for technology – by “knowing” and processing so much real-time information about each person’s condition – to inform more effective, individualized treatments.
This week the Times ran a leading story on a new med school admission process, with multiple, mini-interviews, like speed dating. The idea is to assess applicants’ social, communication and ethical thinking (?) skills: …It is called the multiple mini interview, or M.M.I., and its use is spreading. At least eight medical schools in the United […]
Recently the NEJM ran a Sounding Board piece on Bending the Cost Curve in Cancer Care. The authors take on this problem: Annual direct costs for cancer care are projected to rise — from $104 billion in 20061 to over $173 billion in 2020 and beyond.2…Medical oncologists directly or indirectly control or influence the majority […]
Forbes kept a close eye on the annual ASCO meeting in Chicago. On THE MEDICINE SHOW, Forbes’ Matthew Herper provides a précis of a speech by outgoing ASCO President Dr. George Sledge. Here are my two favorite parts: “So what happens when, a few years from now, a patient walks into a doctor’s office and […]
Today’s Times reports on our nation’s students’ poor science test results. The results are bleak: only 34% of fourth graders scored at a “proficient” level or higher; just 30% of eight graders scored at a proficient level or higher; 21% of twelfth graders scored at a proficient or higher level in science. The mega-analysis, prepared […]
But what’s also true, in a practical and bottom-line sort of way, is that a good physical exam can help doctors figure out what’s wrong with patients. If physicians were more confident – better trained, and practiced – in their capacity to make diagnoses by physical exam, we could skip the costs and toxicity of countless x-rays, CT scans and other tests.
…Poka-yoke, a Japanese term for rendering a repetitive process mistake-proof, is familiar to some business students and corporate executives. This concept, that simple strategies can reduce errors during very complex processes, is not the kind of thing most doctors pick up in med school. Rather, it remains foreign.
Ten years ago, my colleagues and I squirmed in our swivel chairs when a few tech-savvy patients filed in bearing reams of articles they’d discovered, downloaded and printed for our perusal.
Some of us accepted these informational “gifts” warily, half-curious about what was out there and half-loathing the prospect of more reading. Quite a few complained about the changing informational dynamic between patients and their physicians, threatened by a perceived and perhaps real loss of control.
How a decade can make a difference. In 2008 over 140 million Americans…
Yesterday, Dr. Pauline Chen reported in the New York Times on virtual visits, a little-used approach for providing care to patients hundreds or thousands of miles apart from their physicians.
Telemedicine depends on satellite technology and data transfer. It’s a theoretical and possibly real health benefit of the World Wide Web, that giant, not-new-anymore health resource that’s transforming medicine in more ways than we know.
Here’s my short list, culled from newsworthy developments that might improve health, reduce costs of care and better patients’ lives between now and 2020, starting this year: 1. “Real” Alternative Medicine. By this I don’t mean infinitely-diluted homeopathic solutions sold in fancy bottles at high prices, but real remedies extracted from nature and sometimes ancient […]
Last week I received an email from a former patient. He has hemochromatosis, an inherited disposition to iron overload. His body is programmed to take in excessive amounts of iron, which then might deposit in the liver, glands, heart and skin. He mentioned “some amazing videos on hematology and hemochromatosis and genetics” he’d discovered on YouTube.
This is the future of medicine, I realized. … Whether physicians want their patients to search the Internet for medical advice is beside the point. We’re there already, whether or not it’s good for us and whether what we find there is true.