Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We are hardware and software

Some days, it feels like the Internet was invented so there's a place to rant about the American medical system. Perhaps unfairly. Those nice doctors are just trying their best, right?

Maybe. In a we-bought-into-the-system-so-you-must-be-sacrificed kind of a way. They're trying their best to fit patients into an inhumane system that cannot help. So they can get paid.

At least someone is getting paid.

If this feels like the sound of one individual ranting you should know that others share this point of view, many others. There's an organized, grassroots effort called Health 2.0 to try to reinvent the ways our health is cared for.  It's so mainstream they're on LinkedIn, where the group for Health 2.0 conversations has 32,240 members.

And while it will probably fail, it has triggered a whole lot of discussion and analysis by smart critical people like Vinod Khosla. Pandora's box has been opened. Medicine is being exposed for what it is, a tradition not a science. The white coats and judgmental attitudes and pompous faith in their own opinions, all that smacks of religion. You know a system and its practitioners are fairly entrenched when they refer to those of us with negative feedback as "heretics".

Whenever I sit in an exam room listening to yet another useless, denigrating interpretation with no data behind it, I find something else to focus on. Often that means visualizing the mental flow chart that the practitioner is operating from. Reverse-engineering it, if you will. And thinking silently You, you could be replaced by software. And software would do a better job.

Take a look.

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