Will Medicine Be Walmart-ized?

In his new essay, David M. Cutler prognosticates an intriguing, yet impersonal healthcare future. He says, “the idea that technology will change medicine is as old as the electronic computer itself.” And we agree with his proposal.

However, there’s a lot of information out there, and for the most part, it’s not made available at the right time. Think about it: how many times do we hear about a patient receiving an incorrect dosage or a drug that causes an allergic reaction? And, as more docs “get wired” and adopt EMRs, there will be even more parties contributing to the collective consciousness of medicine. Just look at the numbers. Since the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created the HiTech program, billions of dollars have been allocated for doctors and hospitals to purchase EHR software/systems. According to Cutler, “Since the program was enacted, rates of ownership of such systems have tripled among hospitals and quadrupled among physicians.”

Okay, but what happens when all of medicine gets connected?

Cutler says healthcare will be delivered in a more standardized fashion, with less overall cost, but less of a personal touch.

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The Future of Big Data in Medicine Looks Bright

MIT Technology Review published an exciting article. Jeff Hammerbacher, a 30-year-old reputed as Facebook’s first data scientist, is working with The Mount Sinai Medical Center. He once said, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.” But those days are over. He wants to engineer data to help doctors better predict the likelihood of illness and complications.

Hammerbacher will apply his insight acquired while working to target online advertisements. These data-crunching techniques will be used to help doctors and researchers suck in medical information and spit out predictions. The hospital believes this data, if analyzed properly, could cut the cost of health care.

Will Big Data Promote Results-Driven Medicine?
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New App From Pay-Pal Founder Wants To Use Big Data To Improve Healthcare

A ZD Net post reports that during a fireside chat with AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher at the 2013 Data Driven Conference on Wednesday, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin described the inspiration behind his latest startup, Glow. Glow is a mobile app launched earlier this year that’s trying to improve fertility using “big data.” Right now, the app quite literally wants to help women get pregnant, which in such layman’s terms sounds like a parody. But Levchin is serious that this type of app can lead to better doctor-patient decision making, and ultimately trim wasted spending. He’s stated that the company’s goal is to expand into other niches in the healthcare field in order to accomplish this.

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