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20 April 2012



George, well done. I am looking forward to future installments to this series. It is easy to imagine an interactive software program that could deploy such info in a personal, logical and easy to understand format. Imagine if there was a diagnosis 'report card' for each Dr. and history of diagnosis/treatments/outcomes. We have yet to harness such technology in many fields... healthcare being one of the most important. Furthermore, imagine having the capabilities to review treatments more in depth before deciding (for example, this treatment will make the next x months living hell yet could extend your life by x months/years). Imagine the possibilities.

Let's hope that it is not just the Health care czar that gets to implement such technology (within her agenda).

George Rebane

MikeyMcD 356pm - you nailed it. All of this can be computed ahead of time before making critical decisions so as to see the 'tree' of possibilities each weighed with expected costs of dollars, discomfort, time delays,..., and, of course, ultimate success. More to come.

Douglas Keachie

So repeat the test at different vendors, and see what is happening on at least three attempts.

George Rebane

DouglasK 1009pm - Brilliant! and so revealing.

Ben Mavy

George, I love your post and your approach. Perhaps in general medicine there is a bigger market for it, but my experience with pediatricians and obstetricians is that you can count on downright kitten-birthing if you dare to bring up the cost (emotional, physical or economic) of any test or procedure. Physicians use their status and mysterious voodoo knowledge to brow-beat parents into accepting whatever is "standard of care," which I strongly suspect is more about what pharmaceutical companies are selling than anything resembling math. I don't see how that happened unless patients have been willing participants. A black market has already sprung up for child birth, but most of those practitioners are just selling a different variety of voodoo from their medical counterparts. How are you going to sell math to people who are looking for magic?

George Rebane

BenM 634pm - That's a valid concern, and one that has been in the forefront of keeping the patient as an ignorant buyer. My own experience with my mother's decision making on having a valve replacement was Exhibit A; I had to get pretty rough with her cardiologist to squeeze the clinical data out of him so I could present it clearly to my mom. When she saw the numbers (and she was by no means mathematically astute, but she understood odds), it was easy for her to make a decision and she appreciated the clarity of the alternatives.

Going into a reasonable buyer's market in healthcare will be difficult and take a lot energy/ingenuity. The priesthood will want to maintain status quo; no peeking at the man behind the curtain. Good comment.

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