Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms?

robot medic

Image credit: Shutterstock/koya979

By Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures
(original on TechCrunch.com)

I was asked about a year ago at a talk about energy what I was doing about the other large social problems, namely health care and education. Surprised, I flippantly responded that the best solution was to get rid of doctors and teachers and let your computers do the work, 24/7 and with consistent quality.

Later, I got to thinking about what I had said and why, and how embarrassingly wrong that might be. But the more I think about it the more I feel my gut reaction was probably right. The beginnings of “Doctor Algorithm” or Dr. A for short, most likely (and that does not mean “certainly” or “maybe”) will be much criticized. We’ll see all sorts of press wisdom decrying “they don’t work” or “look at all the silly things they come up with.” But Dr A. will get better and better and will go from providing “bionic assistance” to second opinions to assisting doctors to providing first opinions and as referral computers (with complete and accurate synopses and all possible hypotheses of the hardest cases) to the best 20% of the human breed doctors. And who knows what will happen beyond that?

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A Doctor in Your Pocket: Future of Personalized Medicine

image by Alex Nabaum, WSJWhat does the future of medicine hold?

Tiny health monitors and tailored therapies, says David B. Agus, author of “The End of Illness,” a book to be published Tuesday by Free Press. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal published an adaptation of that, and my posting here is a short summary of the WSJ article.

Dr. Agus believes that most of the medical conditions that kill us, such as cancer and heart disease, can be prevented or delayed with personalized medicine, but we don’t yet know enough about how the body works to do the things that avoid causes and prevent illness. He thinks, however, that the end of illness is near.

He describes the future of medicine as holding a big shift from the today’s model, where we currently wait for the body to break before we treat it. We’ll soon be able to  adjust our health in real time with help from smartphone apps and wearable sensors that track proteins and the inner workings of cells. We’ll monitor what happens when we exercise, eat more salmon or dark chocolate, or take drug x at dosage y.

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A Consumer Electronics Christmas

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year in 2012. As for me, I can hardly imagine a better one, filled with family… and electronics.

Our son visited for 3 days with his pretty wife and our 7 month old granddaughter. What a treat. It ended too soon, and Yvonne and I miss them already. That helps explain our Electronics Christmas.

We’re like baby boomers split between keeping up with their adult kids and grandkids while also caring for elderly parents, but since our parents are long gone our attention is laser focused on our only son and his family. That’s why I’ve long wanted a good video conference system – to lessen the need for 4-hour trips to Dallas to see them.

Apple FaceTime Read More …

Innovator’s Prescription: Disruptive Healthcare Solution

book cover of The Innovator's PrescriptionHarvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen — whose bestselling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, revolutionized the business world — now presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

In this meaty 87-min lecture at MIT, Professor Christensen explains how you can’t believe everything you learn in business school and reveals insights into such socially significant and complex industries as health care. “It’s the principles of good management that can cause successful companies to fail,” he says.

The lecture introduced concepts from his latest book, where Christensen applies his principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system. With collaboration from two pioneers in the field — Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang — he examines a range of symptoms and offers proven solutions.

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GE, Microsoft to Launch Global Healthcare Venture

GE, Microsoft to Launch Joint Venture Aimed at Global Healthcare System Transformation

BARRINGTON, Ill., and REDMOND, Wash. – Dec. 7, 2011 – General Electric Co., through its healthcare IT business, and Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to create a joint venture aimed at helping healthcare organizations and professionals use real-time, systemwide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience. Upon formation, the new company will develop and market an open, interoperable technology platform and innovative clinical applications focused on enabling better population health management to improve outcomes and the overall economics of health and wellness.

We notice that Microsoft continues to make inroads into the healthcare field. The Surgeon General’s “My Family Health Portrait” is an internet-based tool [built on Microsoft HealthVault] that makes it easy for you to record your family health history. — Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk

As healthcare providers and payers around the globe shift from episodic single-patient care to continuous population management, new requirements have emerged for integrated care processes, greater insight and engaging Read More …

Qualcomm Life connects Wireless Medical Devices & Cloud

Qualcomm announced this week that Qualcomm Wireless Health is now Qualcomm Life,  a wholly-owned subsidiary whose mission is to define and connect the global wireless health network and bring medical devices to life by securely connecting them to cloud-based services. The encrypted and HIPAA compliant bimetric data is then remotely accessible by device users, their health care providers and caregivers. (video & illustration below)

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High Fiber and the Future of the Internet (and mHealth)

I should start this article by saying that I’m both a consumer advocate and long-time advocate of BIG Broadband and fiber-to-the-home, even as I support wider deployment of fast 3G & 4G networks for mobile health apps and other purposes. That’s why I’m posting this 13 minute video, where PBS correspondent Rick Karr reports on why the U.S., where the Internet was born, has now fallen badly behind in the race to the online future. The video describes the telecom business environment of open competition in the Netherlands and its success in promoting ultra-fast fiber-optic networks. That contrasts starkly with the lack of competition here in the U.S., where most consumers only have two broadband Internet providers to choose from: a phone company and a cable company.

Back in May, my advocacy also caused me to submit Lifted by the Cloud, a 7min vision video of cloud-based accessibility to the FCC as part of a contest sponsored by the FCC , the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, and Raising the Floor. And this week, my advocacy caused me to engage in an online debate over whether mHealth is being hijacked by the phone industry for their own gain. The debate got a bit heated, which is common in social media. Enjoy.

Maintaining Personal Health Records

Medical Alert Options

What would you want the ER doctor to know about you, or your loved one? And how would you tell them? Let us know in the comments below.

Lee Howard produced this YouTube video to share her experience and endorse electronic medical records as an alternative to paper. She had scheduled a visit to the Mayo Clinic to help with a difficult diagnosis and was worried sick because her twin sister died earlier. She thought she might have the same thing. The clinic asked for a thorough medical history, but the records were spread everywhere and were in paper form. Lee’s nursing background gave her insight into how to gather and present them in a binder for the medical staff.

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The future of connected health devices

IBM's Future of Connected Health DevicesFrom a recent IBM Executive Report:

Health device makers, to date, have primarily targeted consumers who are either fitness focused or chronically ill. But between these two extremes sits a large, fragmented and often overlooked population who seek better information to effectively manage their health. IBM research suggests that successful solution providers will approach this market opportunity as an ecosystem of partners – with an integrated solution that extends beyond the device itself. By plugging the information gap for these consumers, solution providers can help fuel healthcare innovation.

Read The future of connected health devices.

Health Information Seekers

From the report: The Information Seeker segment represents a broad spectrum of consumers unified in their need for assistance in managing a health challenge.

Apple iCloud has implications for home health care

I amended this post with new information shown in red.

On June 6, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, CEO Steve Jobs introduced iCloud, a new service that addresses a growing problem of keeping our devices in sync, especially since they now each have the ability to create and store data, images, music, and video.

iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. The service automatically uploads the content, stores it, and pushes it to your other devices, and it’s completely integrated with your apps. That way everything happens automatically, and there’s nothing new to buy or learn. As Jobs put it, “It just all works.”

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