How to become a centaur

Interesting article on how human intelligence and artificial intelligence can be seen as complements rather than substitutes.  Human+AI combinations have been shown to perform better than human or AI alone.  Why? AIs are best at choosing answers. Humans are best at choosing questions. The advent of AI is not a zero sum game.  The symbiotic…

The Stethoscope

The site 99% Invisible has an interesting post on the invention of the stethoscope had how it transformed medicine. René Laennec actually felt that patient’s accounts of their own disease were still important, but the quest for objective information about disease was underway, and the stethoscope was just the beginning. Now we have X-rays, CT…

Orphan Medical Products

Should health insurers cover orphan drugs?  Although the clear answer appears to be yes, the issue is tricky.  An orphan drug is one which treats a limited number of people.  In Europe, this designation generally applies to patients with a disease with an overall prevalence between 5 and 10,000 individuals. In order to incentivize innovators…

Machine learning and physician employement

An article by Ajay Agrawal and Avi Goldfarb (“The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence“) provide an interesting perspective on how machine learning will affect employment with a nice example from the health care sector. All human activities can be described by five high-level components: data, prediction, judgment, action, and outcomes. For example, a visit to the…

Will technology replace nurses?

Many people have feared that robots, computers, and other forms of technology will take people’s jobs. Conventional wisdom holds that healthcare workers have been largely immune from these technological changes to date. However, a new paper from Lu, Rui and Seidmann examines whether technological advances–specifically computerized provider order entry (CPOE)–affects employment at nursing homes. Using…

Will payers pay for new healthcare technologies

Wearables, digital medicine and ‘beyond-the-pill’ are the latest healthcare craze.  New technologies–particular those combined with patients mobile phones–offer the promise of improving patient health.  One question is will insurance companies, the government and other payers actually reimburse for these technologies.  According to a recent FiercePharma article, the answer is yes…if there is evidence. Payers say they’re willing…

Paging Dr. Watson

In the future, will your recommended cancer treatment be decided by a computer?  That is what IBM hopes with the launch of their Watson for Genomics project.  CNET reports: Typically, finding the appropriate treatment for a specific patient means sequencing his or her genome — the complete DNA structure packed into a single cell —…