Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dr. Watson

As I write, the people behind the computer that won the famous Jeopardy match are feverishly trying to convert it into the world's greatest doctor. Watson, as it is called, may be able to diagnose faster than a speeding train, blah, blah, blah. Read the article and laugh out loud like I did. I am not worried in the least. In fact, I definitely will be doing a parody on the subject in the near future. I can just see that five years after the new Medical Watson has been on the job he will be burned out and responding to patients with such responses (please use your best robot voice) as "Please, sir, get to the point" or "I think it is depression, Ma'am. Why? Because it is always depression, Ma'am".


The Medical Quack said...

I agree with you on the medical use of the technology and granted it will continue to be developed, but there's a much more urgent need for this high speed technology and that is for use in Congress. Even IBM agrees with me on this and carried my post about that a while back on their site!

What you do as a doctor and the care I get as a patient relies a lot on the laws that are out there today so thus some "smart laws" with lawmakers having the ability to hook Watson up to the Internet and use speech recognition for the lowest common denominator of those in Congress with consumer It literacy could participate.

Doctors are the biggest named group with testing software all over the place, so give them a little rest here if you will and tend to the most important needs with having "intelligent" information and that has to do with making laws. IBM of course is pitching the technology to Wall Street so they can even get smarter and continue to use intelligence against us commons out here and Congress, so those folks need it worse than anyone else or otherwise we are all screwed when big corporations and bankers can use technology to adjust algorithms and throw out a new business model in 48 hours or less to adjust to any laws past.

IBM did make a presentation to Congress and I think due to the fact that it was used on Jeopardy, they thought all of this was only a game sad to say.

If we had all lawmakers at one time gathered together to query and study and see the same numbers, information, etc. at the same time, then go off to committees and study and develop bills, we would certainly have the beginnings to at least have the potential of smarter lawmakers and hopefully some would give up the idea of there being some big great white hope out there, as there's not and it takes collaboration and we don't see that today, but rather instead see a lot of bills proposed that clearly show digital illiteracy like the one with putting Medicare claims on line. One bill proposed thinks this could be done in 6 months and boy does he have a lot to learn as the data base has tons of errors over the years and it would take millions to be get near any format to present to the public to query plus the fact that it would not make MDs look very good if they had a siege of bad billers too, again a waste here too.

At any rate, that's my opinion an I'm sticking to it:) We have lost and mixed priorities for sure today and even judges can't completely sort all of this out without high powered technology to filter and present the the reels of data in a format that can be worked with:)

Pat said...

Reminds me of that robot Duke U. was using a few years back. It would motor into the room and turn it's face to the patient,a video screen whereby doc could conduct his interview remotely. never heard how the pilot program worked out, but whatcha bet the doc wasn't wearing pants?

Christopher said...

Since this is digital, will patients only be able to rate their pain either a 0 or a 1? Not that it matters, since they all pick the highest number anyhow.

Maybe Dr. Watson will have an easier time figuring out my EMR, or at least if nothing else be able to whoop its butt in some sort of TRON like arena (and live to tell me about it). Probably it will tell me that EMRs "do not compute".

A refill on your oxycontin? "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

Maybe it can have a universal translator module for baby talk..

Receptionist: "I'm sorry, Dr. Watson is out this morning playing EA Sports Tiger Woods Golf."

Can Dr. Watson do a digital rectal exam?

IBM would impress the heck out of me a lot more if they could make Watson dedicated to billing and fighting for reimbursement--able to effortless stay on hold for hours waiting to talk to someone named "Bob" from India--so my staff can be freed up to do more important things for my patients. As almost always happens, I suspect we will see yet another example of computers being used to even further complicate/degrade the doctor-patient relationship.

Anonymous said...

Apparently someone decided a while ago to make a chat bot that would act as a therapist. Most users didn't realize they were talking to a computer, and they felt much better. Even once it was revealed that the chat bot was a bot, people still reported feeling better after "talking" to the bot.Maybe you can send all your depressed patients to Watson...

Anonymous said...

@Christopher - the patients would all pick a "2" for their pain, and Watson's main console would explode, much like my head does when all my patients say their pain is a "20".