Recently I had dinner with a few educators for the medical school. An educator is not someone who actually does the teaching. They consider themselves above a teacher. The educator is the one who determines the curriculum and various teaching methods. They make sure that goals and objectives are written for every lecture and they make out evaluation forms and other meaningless paper work that makes teaching unpleasant.
Anyway, these educators I met with were talking about teaching in the future and how much of it will be by the computer. In the future medical students may be largely home schooled. We are moving in that direction pretty rapidly because now when I give a lecture I am staring at the backs of computers rather than into the face of a student. The practice of medicine is also headed in that direction. The computer can ask all the questions and order the appropriate test and then prescribe the correction medication. There will probably be less medical errors and the cost of medical care will decrease. The educators also believe that social behavior and interaction between the patient and physician can be learned via the computer. This may be true because the computer is more warm and friendly than many of the physicians I have dealt with.
I sure miss the empathy and compassion of my old family doc. In retrospect he couldn’t do much but he made you feel good and confident that he was in charge and doing everything humanly possible to make you well. One good thing about the computer doc of the future is that I won’t have to wait three months for an appointment. He will always be at my desk or on the laptop wherever I go. No more talking to an answering machine when trying to get hold of the doc.
If you are wondering how the computer can do a physical exam; it can be done with a little ultrasound probe that plugs into a USB port. The exam will also be much more accurate.
Well, that’s the future of medicine. Cost should be reduced and accuracy improved when we take the human element out of the picture. It will be interesting to see what happens when the computer gets sued. The plaintiffs attorney will have to type in his questions. Settlements and awards will be interesting.
Just think, my porch will become a doctors office and hospital. The uses for the porch expands daily in this world of computers