Dr. Oz on Technology in Medicine

While many doctors naturally disagree, Dr. Oz believes the future of medicine will depend more on technology than doctors. “I see the car, which is right now one of the most unused spaces in our lives, becoming a mobile examination suite for you,” says the heart surgeon, turned talk show host. “It can weigh you and tell how stressed you are by how you grip the steering wheel, the sweat on your fingers, and heart rate variability.” (1:29 VIDEO, below)

As a technologist watching this space and reporting on health & wellness innovations at CES, I concur with Dr. Oz and have explored the effect of technology, automation and healthcare robots and on jobs. That’s why I was attracted by this CBS 60 Minutes segment on The March of the Machines and how automation is likely to effect the job market, including positions in medicine.

The following related slides are part of a presentation I made to a local job club about keeping your skills relevant during long-term unemployment. They tie automation and the resulting effect on employment to the widening income gap and establish a base for further discussion.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology & Automation are Replacing Jobs faster than Creating New Jobs.

Technology is arguably a great enabler and equalizer, but with innovation advancing exponentially, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that avoids the widening income and wealth gaps. This creates a political dilemma if more people are pushed into poverty and rely on social safety nets, since it could have a devastating effect on healthcare costs. Public health officials quoted in HBO’s documentary, The Weight of the Nation, are now able to accurately estimate average weight and obesity levels by zip code. They’ve also noticed marked differences in average lifespan between low-income and affluent neighborhoods in opposite sides of the same town.

I hope this article will start a conversation on the important role of technology as part of the solution, and part of the problem, prompting ideas to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm.

2 thoughts on “Dr. Oz on Technology in Medicine

  1. Be sure to read about the Direct Relationship between Poverty, Obesity, and Healthcare Costs.
    I also commented on An Inequality Debate Heats Up

    “The causes are simpler than you may think. Technology is partly to blame, because the accelerating pace of tech innovation is rapidly improving productivity and replacing jobs faster than creating new ones. At the same time, public policy and a regressive tax code direct the resulting wealth creation to the top, encouraging short-term thinking focused on quarterly stock price rather than long-term growth, and causing companies to view employees as disposable expenses rather than strategic assets to invest in. And surprising beneficiaries of this shift include jobs that are relatively hard to automate, including The Pink Collar Workforce.”

    Respected Harvard professor Clayton Christensen says, “Disruptive Innovations Create Jobs, Efficiency Innovations Destroy Them”, but I don’t necessarily agree and added this comment on his article:

    “Christensen offers an interesting perspective, and I normally agree with his views, but not this time. My own perspective comes as I consider Apple’s iPhone and the disruptive nature of smartphones in general. Yes, they created new opportunities in app development and attachments, but they’re also replacing entire industries, including: land line & cordless phones, PDAs, video games, PCs, GPS navigation, music players, TV remotes, watches, cameras, and much more. The problem I see is that, given our current political climate, this sort of disruptive innovation generates wealth that flows to the top and fuels a widening of the income, wealth and opportunity gaps, destroying more jobs than it creates.

    For other examples of how the accelerating pace of tech innovation and automation are affecting the jobs of even the most well educated individuals, including two videos and a powerful Infographic, see http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2013/01/dr-oz-on-technology/.

    So what’s to be done? To balance these trends, I believe we need a much more progressive tax code and public policies focused on spreading the wealth, preserving the middle class, and helping people climb out of poverty.”

  2. Some other
    things replaced by smartphones include: human operators and directory
    assistance, public phones, VHS video recorders, cassette tapes, printed
    classified ads, printed maps, telephone books, address books, handwritten
    letters, paying bills by mail, bank tellers, encyclopedias, dictionaries, pagers,
    photo albums, and fax machines.

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