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A “Doctor in your Pocket”? Come on now…

“The Future of Personalized Medicine” was in an article today in the Wall Street Journal. It raised major cautionary flags for me. The idea here is that “Apps” on our “smartphones” will soon analyze a drop of our blood, and allow sophisticated software (maybe even “in The Cloud”) to be “a Doctor in your Pocket” and handle all your healthcare needs.  Dear patients: This is not personalized medicine… it’s im-personal-ized medicine. Please allow me my opinion: Healthcare is an Art and a Science, both, and in that order – and we need both.  Converting your healthcare to a “Cloud computer’s ability” to cross reference a database and spit out an answer to a question, and then blindly trusting that to meet your needs, seems to me to be surrendering to the generic.  While if it were real,  although “a doctor in your pocket” would certainly shorten my appointment times with people, it would pull all of the ART out of healthcare.  My idea: let a skilled human doctor-provider cross-reference the databases, let me look at you, hear you, and help you fit things into a context that works for you. Let me listen to your WORDS and hear your voice, let me cry with you, let me pat you on the back and say “you made it”… unless a little red or green dot on the screen will be enough for you – and let’s do it inside an appointment with some hands on.

Otherwise, you will have either way too much – or not enough – information to properly integrate this into your reality. And the reason “doctors” exist, I think, is because people often need help navigating managing their health.

Now, advances will come and they will be very helpful. I don’t mind an App telling my patients not to overdose on Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or not to eat too much red meat. But who will write these, and who will protect you from commercial forces? And PS, they will not be able to create an APP that can release a dysfunctional joint in your spine… we still need a few doctors, ok?

But I’m just saying…. I think the dream sounds good, but exceeds the reality…

Here’s the article:

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