Clinical Decision Support

Clinical Decision Support technologies

Computer-Assisted decision making

Posted by on in Clinical Decision Support

A while ago I was at a panel discussion on the advantages and concerns of electronic health records at a conference in Boston, MA. A few weeks before, our family physician passed away at the age of 89. He practiced in the day’s before the internet and his mind was our search engine for any health related issues. With his death, three generations' health information also passed away. I can’t remember a computer on his desk, but he still remembered to phone me on my birthday, 21 years after he assisted my transition into this life.

He auscultated each member of my extended family’s hearts. He knew exactly how our hearts were beating. He was also available 24/7. Always ready to assist.

While listening to the discussion on electronic health records, I thought to myself how uncomplicated were the days before information systems. When you had access to a single person with a wealth of information, not only on you, but your whole extended family. The days where there was a direct link between the cost, value and outcome of the service you received.

There is a school of thought that we should move back to a system where we have a single point of entry into the healthcare system. A point with access to my extended medical history. A point that could effectively manage my health. But how realistic is that? We are a generation that’s on the move.

So, the idea of building a relationship with a virtual doctor came to my mind. Imagine my family could also visit the same “virtual” doctor for the next few generations. Imagine if this doctor could learn the in’s and out’s of each of my family members' health. Imagine if this virtual doctor would know exactly how each family member's heart sounds. If it can provide you with individual care and specialist advice from the comfort of your couch.

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Posted by on in Clinical Decision Support

Please raise your hand if you ever felt that you would never use a computer program or app to diagnose a patient during a physical exam.

The healthcare sector is notorious for being slow when it comes to adopting new technologies. Even for some patients it could be scary if they know that their trusted physician is relying on a computer program to make a diagnosis.

The main arguments are that computers are lacking consciousness, human intuition and most of all, instinct. While physicians are naturally good at matching patterns, logic and knowledge with their instinct.

Where are we in the human vs. machine race today?

Where do you get a second opinion?

A recent article in the NY Times introduced Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal, 39, a self-effacing associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He is considered one of the most skillful clinical diagnosticians in practice today.

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