Hospital Computer Helps Doctors With Diagnosis, Including Death
As reported by the BBC earlier today, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is using sophisticated medical software with a supercomputer which automatically collects and analyses data about the condition of their patients … every 3 minutes! The computer can suggest what is wrong with a patient before the doctor can diagnose them. It sorts information from a database of 250,000 patients over the past 30 years, which enables the computer to recognize rare diseases more quickly than the doctors can.
Dr. Steve Horng, who was interviewed for the report, says the computer is helping doctors, and not to be looked upon as a replacement for them. However, the tail end of the report are the sentences which really stands out in the piece, when Dr. Horng says:
We can predict with almost a 96% confidence that these patients will have “this” probability of dying. So if the computer says you are going to die, you will probably die in the next three days.
Perhaps not the best “bedside manner” offered by Dr. Horng, but his point is quite a reality check.
For as uncomfortable as it may seem to have machines help determine a person’s chances of death, it is an amazing piece of technology. In a world of shrinking medical resources and personnel, combined with ever-rising heath-care costs, asset allocation is becoming a necessity in providing large-scale, complete health care services. Computers are going to play a larger role in helping medical experts make more accurate decisions about the health of the patients, and the corresponding best treatment – or perhaps just as importantly, when it is best to not proceed with certain treatments.