11 for ’11: Dr. Jack Smith on bioinformatics
During the holiday season I’ve invited 11 of the greater Houston area’s top scientific minds to share a few words on something — a trend, a discovery or an insight — in their field that excites them as they look ahead to the next few years. A new entry in the 11 for ’11 series will be published each morning.
Today’s insight comes from Dr. Jack Smith, dean of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Biomedical Informatics.
Just a few years ago, bioinformatics was the place to be for new breakthroughs in leading edge research. Now it is reduced to helping with Electronic Medical Records. How mundane.
But the benefits of putting all medical records into digital form are huge. Swedish Hospital in Seattle mandated that all the doctors had to move to electronic records. This allows the hospital to data mine the results.
They have used this approach to examine which type of patients are readmitted, are identifying the causes and are working to reduce the resultant costs. This is just one little aspect. The ability to rapidly determine if the hospital is doing things right will change things forever.
But read the comments and you will read a bunch of ignorant rants against Obama, big government, and Big Brother. They see the same Bogey Man behind everything. I bet they complained about big government when bloodletting went out of style.
The benefits to all of us will outweigh any negatives. Heck, if we simply did not have to answer the same questions each time we go to the doctor (Any allergies to medication? Do you smoke? etc.), think how much time and money would be saved?
2 thoughts on “The post made me sad but the comments made me sadder”
As far as I can see, most of the comments are favorable to digitized medical records. Maybe that is because most of the doctors and hospitals in Houston already have digitized their records.
You are correct not all of them now are unfavorable. They seemed to be concentrated in the first few which left a bad taste for the whole thing. I hate it when the early comments on a science oriented blog seem to anti-science. It is almost like those that deny science are the most avid science readers, waiting for the appearance of a new post so they can crap all over it. It sometimes takes a while for a better balance to arrive.
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