Posts tagged Care
If you’re visiting the Google I/O developers conference this week, you’re a tiny part of a giant Google experiment to sniff out everything from your body heat to your breath. Google is even listening to your footfalls as part of its Data Sensing Lab I/O 2013.
Think that’s a scary, Big-Brother invasion of privacy? The conference attendees I talked to didn’t seem to mind. In fact, one wanted Google to collect even more data.
Google planted 525 powered sensors around the halls of San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, and began collecting data from them on Wednesday, according to Michael Manoochehri, a developer programs engineer at Google. The company began measuring temperature, humidity, light, pressure (including nearby footfalls), motion, air quality and both RF and ambient noise. All of the data is sent back at intervals of 20 seconds or so, collected by Google’s App Engine, with analysis performed by its BigQuery Big Data analysis tool. You can see the results at the Lab’s dedicated Web site.
Among other things, Google’s I/O developer conference has focused this year on improving developer tools and better integrating the services that it already owns via a more intelligent cloud. The unnamed sensor project, part of Google’s Data Sensing Lab, encompasses a bit of all of that. By itself, knowing that the air quality diminished at 4a.m. might be intriguing, but not all that significant. But by correlating that information with a peak in another data stream – ambient noise, say – it becomes possible to guess what’s going oin; in this case, perhaps, the arrival of the cleaning crew.
Manoochehri said that Google could build in queries against the sensor network into its Google I/O app, to identify the quietest spots on the floor for a phone call or a brief nap.
Crossing The Creepy Line?
It’s probably fair to say that attendees of Google I/O give Google a bit more leeway than the general public. That certainly proved to be the case for those sitting near the sensors. Alan Holzman, a retired venture capitalist who last worked for Intel Capital, shrugged it off. “My life is tied to Google in much more significant ways,” he noted.
Ditto for Sam Napolitano, who was covering Google I/O for the Huffington Post. Napolitano said he believed that the sensors were probably picking up on the NFC tag embedded within his name tag – something that Google employees said wasn’t true. In any event, Napolitano said, he didn’t care, as he had no expectations of privacy in a public space. ”As long as it’s not under my toilet seat, I don’t care,” Napolitano said of the sensors.
And “Rachid,” an employee of Motorola Mobility who declined to give his last name, said he wanted to Google sample more data. More data and more correlation often derives more interesting results, he said, such as the various causes of depression.
The Internet Of Things
Collecting data from sensors is increasingly seen as part of the rise of the so-called Internet of Things, and Google clearly wants to be a leader in this growing domain. Google already collects some location data via Android phones to better improve its knowledge of traffic, and provide better solutions via Google Maps.
We know that Google is very good at parsing user data – pulling keywords from emails, for example, and selling ads against them. (Selling ads against search terms is child’s play.) Likewise, it can make recommendations for where to eat, where to go, the route to take and when to leave – building more comprehensive, personalized and valuable profiles along the way.
But the I/O conference project suggests that Google is prepared to take the same value proposition – collect data, analyze it, and provide and sell services against it – far beyond today’s core businesses. Imagine sensors placed on Google Street View cars, and selling a comprehensive snapshot of air quality to the communities it maps. Or mounting similar sensors on the light poles from which it strings it Google Fiber broadband connections.
It will be interesting to see how far Google takes this. Remember this is the company that attempted to track the spread of influenza via search terms. Google said that it wants attendees and other users to be able to interact with its new sensor data via the project’s website. How soon will it be when we’ll be able to do the same for, say, San Francisco?
View full post on ReadWrite
Would you trust the “wisdom of the crowd” over your own doctor? CrowdMed thinks you might. The San Francisco start-up has an audacious plan to use crowdsourcing techniques to tap the “collective wisdom” of strangers to help diagnose patients – particularly those who’ve bounced from doctor to doctor for years trying to understand uncommon symptoms.
While many may worry that healthcare is too important to trust to strangers, I think this is awesome.
After all, crowdsourcing is already used to help find missing persons, track down terrorists, answer life’s vexing questions, pick stocks – and to select our President. SETI uses crowdsourcing to search for extraterrestrial life. Why not employ crowdsourcing to help our multi-trillion-dollar healthcare industry?
CrowdMed recently received $1.1 million in seed financing from some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, including NEA, Greylock Partners, Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz.
Ask Your Doctor? No. Ask the Crowd.
CrowdMed works like this: Patients pay a $199 fee to list their case on CrowdMed. They fill out a “patient questionnaire” that details their symptoms, case history and personal information. Though CrowdMed founder Jared Heyman declined to say exactly how many patients have enrolled so far, he claimed that there has been “pretty strong demand.” Without the fee, Heyman explained, the site would be overwhelmed with patients who might not get diagnosed.
Once a case is posted, the crowd, what CrowdMed somewhat coyly terms “MDs” – for “medical detectives” – can review the patient’s information and offer up what they believe is the correct – or most likely – diagnosis.
According to Heyman, “close to 3,000 people have signed up as medical detectives.” He said CrowdMed’s “MDs” include doctors, residents and “regular people that like solving medical mysteries.” Why sign up to be a medical detective? First, there’s the chance to help patients. Second, CrowdMed awards its detectives “points” for the diagnoses they correctly predict.
CrowdMed utilizes a so-called prediction market methodology to help glean the correct diagnosis. For example, when a detective selects a case to review, they use up some of their points. They use up still more when they suggest a diagnosis or vote up (or down) other suggested diagnoses. Essentially, it “costs” to play. The more accurate their predictions, however, the more points they are ultimately awarded.
Points do not have any cash value, however. For now, they can be exchanged only for donations to Watsi, an organization that helps fund medical treatments in the developing world. Heyman did not say how much CrowdMed is donating.
While it’s true that CrowdMed’s detectives may not always correctly diagnose a particular patient, if they can narrow the likelihood of someone’s illness to, say, two or three likely options – those that garner the most points, for example – that could speed up decision making and help point to which tests should be perfomed.
In Crowd We Trust?
The obvious question: Can a crowd of strangers with unknown amounts of medical expertise be trusted to safely and correctly diagnose baffling medical problems? CrowdMed claims that after “four years of development” it possess a patented “unique technology” specifically designed to optimize group intelligence for medical diagnostic purposes. From its site:
Groups hold far more knowledge collectively than any individual member, no matter how brilliant. With hundreds of minds working in parallel, groups can process information much faster than individuals.
Heyman told me that his sister suffered for three years from a rare disease. Once it was finally correctly diagnosed, doctors were able to significantly ease her symptoms. CrowdMed used her case to help validate its model – Heyman says it accurately diagnosed her within days.
What Do Real MDs Think?
The first rule of medicine is primum non nocere, Latin for “first, do no harm.” It does not necessarily apply to the crowd. Not surprisingly, the CrowdMed approach bothers many real doctors.
Dr. Hubert Chen, the Associate Medical Director for biotech pioneer Genentech, said, “I want to be enthusiastic, but I have concerns about it.” Dr. Chen’s primary concern was the potential for numerous “false positives” that CrowdMed’s “detectives” might generate: ”I’ve seen many patients misled by the Web. Doctors often have to un-educate them.”
Dr. Aaron Roland, wo runs a family practice in northern California and is an associate clinical professor at UC San Francisco, had different concerns. “I wouldn’t pay $200,” Rolan said. He also wondered whether CrowdMed could attract the scale it needs. “Crowdsourcing is good when there’s a lot of people in the crowd,” he said, “but until you get that crowd, I’m suspicious.”
Not surprisingly, Martorana was very positive about the concept. There are many “experts,” she said, not necessarily doctors, who may have suffered from a particular disease, or have a family member who has suffered, and whom can now contribute to the site.
She hopes to “reach out” to staffers – not just doctors – at medical research, counseling and support organizations that concentrate on specific issues – think, autism, for example, or Parkinson’s dioease – and encourage them to participate in CrowdMed.
Martorana also suggested crowdsourcing diagnoses could be a boon for health insurance companies: “If you are insured and going to multiple specialists, but not getting relief, that costs a lot of money – you, your employer, your insurer all must bear those costs. At some point, there probably will be a pretty significant revenue stream for CrowdMed coming from insurance companies. Right now, their cost numbers are staggering.”
The relatively paltry $1.1 million CrowdMed has raised so far suggest that investors remain unsure of the idea’s potential risks and rewards. But connecting patients with chronic medical symptoms to experts, regardless of their titles, clearly holds massive disruptive potential. CrowdMed’s ambitious, even inspiring idea is to use connectivity, collaboration and collective intelligence to help people avoid needless suffering. Despite the risks, it seems like it’s a worth a try to me.
- Social Revolution: Crowdsourcing For Change
- The Problem With Crowdsourcing Crime Reporting In The Mexican Drug War
- The Key To Crowdsourcing: Smarter Crowds
View full post on ReadWrite
The next time you’re thinking about buying a new smartphone, there’s one more spec you might want to consider. If the FBI or the IRS wants to read your texts, will Apple hand them over? Would it require the feds to get a warrant first? And would it even bother to let you know that federal agents made the request in the first place?
If you’re looking at a shiny new iPhone, the answers are not comforting.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s latest digital privacy report, Who’s Got Your Back?, awards Apple its secondthe Electronic Frontier Foundation gives Apple a paltry one out of six stars. While Apple got credit for supporting efforts to defend users by modernizing electronic privacy laws, its apparent willingness to hand over your personal information to the government without a warrant and its failure to tell its users how it handles such requests put it in the dock.
Worse Than Comcast: Apple’s Privacy Black Box
Apple came off much, much worse than most of its peers — here defined as major non-ISP mobile-computing players. Apple fared worse than Amazon (two stars), Facebook (three), Microsoft (four) and Google (five). Even Comcast, the cable conglomerate consumers love to hate, scored one star higher than Apple.
The EFF chides Apple for not publishing a transparency report as companies like Google and Twitter do. Without that, users have no idea what kinds of information the government asks for, because Apple won’t tell them, nor does it let them know what its guidelines are for dealing with law enforcement data requests.
Apple certainly wasn’t the worst-ranked company overall. The major telcos and ISPs almost always get raked over coals on privacy. In this report, Verizon got no stars, while AT&T racked up a grand total of one. MySpace also got no stars and Yahoo only got one. Amazon’s showing is also pretty disappointing, especially considering its vast storehouse of consumer-purchase data and its rumored plans to enter the smartphone market.
But Apple dominates mobile computing in a way few other companies do. And as the proprietor of a mobile operating system that runs on more than half a billion devices, Apple has its hands on a lot of data. Its approach to privacy matters to an awful lot of people — and its lousy performance is a big deal considering how deeply its devices are embedded into our lives.
That integration is only getting deeper as Apple prototypes wearable devices and dreams up more screens to dominate.
Not Just A Computer Company Anymore
It’s not all together shocking that Apple has some catching up to do in the privacy realm. Until recently, it didn’t deal with all that much information about its customers. For most of its history, the company was called Apple Computer, because that’s what it sold: computers.
In the early days, the only way for the government to snoop through your MacIntosh was to get a warrant to search your apartment. Today’s Apple’s computers are smaller, constantly connected to the Internet and, increasingly reliant on iCloud to sync and share data across devices.
Whereas Google has been handling (and profiting from) user data since day one, Apple is only just getting started. If you use iCloud, its servers house your calendars, email, photos, notes and any other data you choose to feed it. If you’re using iOS 5 or higher, you’re also entrusting Apple with whatever percentage of your personal text messages go through its iMessage protocol.
To its credit, Apple built iMessage using end-to-end encryption that makes its harder for others to snoop on the contents of messages. Of course, if the FBI — or the local cops — really want to know what you’re iMessaging back and forth, they can go directly to Apple, with or without a warrant.
Of course, if the texts in question aren’t iMessages, the authorities could just do what they’ve always done: Ask the mobile data provider to see them. Such requests have seen a dramatic uptick in recent years, and the major ISPs don’t approach them with the same level of transparency that a company like Twitter or Sonic.net would.
Why Consumers Should Care
Apple has never been lauded for having a forward-thinking and open approach to user privacy issues. That hasn’t stopped millions of people from trying to predict the company’s next gadget and then eagerly standing in line to purchase it.
Part of that may have to do with awareness. Digital privacy reports excite a certain breed of data nerd (OK, guilty as charged), but they don’t approach the media attention lavished on Apple product announcements. Nor is the EFF’s chart plastered all over billboards, bus stops and television sets.
Even for those of you who already knew that Apple doesn’t treat your privacy with kid gloves, the risk of the government peeking into law-abiding texts and calendars is too remote to worry about. To some, this is just a side effect of the hyper-connected, digitally-immersed society we’re becoming. Even if they don’t particularly like it, it’s just not their battle to fight.
Trouble is, that sort of complacency puts no pressure on Apple to get more proactive about keeping your digital life safe from prying eyes.
If you fall in this category, you might still luck out, of course. Even if there’s some major privacy gaffe down the line, it might not affect you. And if you’re fortunate, IRS agents aren’t currently reading your Apple email or iMessages, looking for possible evidence of tax evasion.
But given Apple’s current practices in this regard, if they are, you’d never know. Maybe ignorance really is bliss.
View full post on ReadWrite
Getting the most out of your search results means being prepared to react and fix issues when need be, and knowing what to think about when it comes to the ins and outs of technical SEO. Here are several ideas and tools to help your website healthy.
View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest
SEO Diagnostics: Urgent & Preventive Care
Search Engine Watch
The SEO Diagnostics for the Skilled Search Mechanic panel at SES New York last week, moderated by Kristjan Mar Hauksson (@optimizeyourweb), founder and director of Search & Online Communications at Nordic eMarketing, brought together some very …
View full post on SEO – Google News
In 2010, Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers told reporters at the company’s reseller conference in San Francisco, “We don’t focus on other companies. We focus on market transitions.”
The statement was a half-truth. Chambers should have said companies other than Microsoft.
On Monday, the eve of Microsoft’s first Lync User Conference, Rowan Trollope, general manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, posted a blog that that explained why Lync was inferior to Cisco’s platform for unified communications and collaboration.
“I’m quite sure some of it will generate controversy but that’s OK – it’s a conversation worth having in our opinion,” Trollope writes.
But as sometimes happens when brands or political campaigns “go negative,” the whole thing is blowing up in Cisco’s face, as analysts point out the weaknesses in Cisco’s arguments.
The real takeaway, in fact, is that Cisco seems to be scared of what Microsoft is selling.
Trollope’s post isn’t super nasty, at least not by Apple-v-Android standards. But he takes some shots at Microsoft Lync, calling it “a solution that’s primarily been developed for a desktop PC user experience” and thus “less able to meet these wider post-PC requirements than one that has been designed and optimized for them from the outset.”
An example of the latter, Trollope says, would be Cisco’s UC&C, which is a set of integrated products, such as messaging, Internet telephony, video conferencing and data sharing. All the products are accessed through a single user interface.
Another of Trollope’s criticism is that with Microsoft, customers need to go out and buy all sorts of different devices instead of getting everything from a single vendor. “And, in our opinion, that could lead to increased complexity, cost and risk, not to mention the hours spent trying to figure out `who’s on first’ when troubleshooting an issue.”
And finally this:
“There are other important topics that we think should also be discussed. Does your collaboration vendor have any conflict of interest with other BYOD device vendors? Can you move from an in-house deployment to a cloud-based service and get the same functionality? We would encourage you to explore these points with us and any other vendors you are considering.”
This is all pretty garden-variety competitive marketing, and certainly far less aggressive than what Microsoft does with its anti-Google “Scroogled” campaigns.
Nevertheless, analysts were quick to cry foul and to point out flaws in Cisco’s arguments.
A large part of what Trollope called a “frank and direct conversation” was a “little far fetched and hypocritical,” Gartner analyst Steve Blood says.
Cisco claims Microsoft’s Surface tablet represented a conflict of interest, since Lync would also support competing tablets from Apple and Google. Cisco seems to have forgotten its own entry into the tablet market with Cius, which failed miserably and was pulled last year. “It wasn’t worried about a conflict of interest then,” Blood says.
Cisco also has other conflicts when it comes to hardware. While its UC&C products work on other vendor’s systems, they run best on Cisco’s Unified Computing System. And when it comes to partners offering Cisco UC&C in the cloud, its UCS server is the only hardware option, Blood says.
Trollope claims Lync is more complex and expensive because customers need to get phones, video equipment, voice and video gateways and networking gear through hardware partners since Microsoft doesn’t make those products, while Cisco sells its own integrated hardware and software.
Art Schoeller, analyst for Forrester Research, isn’t buying Trollope’s argument. “Each account is different in what they have, what they want, and what capabilities are important to them and what model appeals to them more,” he says.
While Cisco arguably has a stronger hosted platform than Microsoft, Cisco’s biggest resellers are also selling hosted Lync and Office 365, which is “a recognition by Cisco’s partners that in some instances, the Microsoft solution is something they would want to propose in place of Cisco,” Blood says.
The biggest problem Microsoft has in offering Lync in the cloud is with voice communications. In many countries, as soon as voice hits the cloud, it becomes a regulated service, much like that of a carrier. Microsoft and Cisco are solving the problem by partnering with carriers. “Currently, Microsoft promotes Lync on premise, if a customer wants deeper voice capabilities like conferencing,” Schoeller says.
Cisco Feels The Competition
Cisco is going on the offensive because Microsoft is becoming a serious competitor, which is good for companies in the market for unified communications products. However, Cisco would do better to focus on customers, rather than spend time attacking the competition with “ill-prepared, and weak arguments such as this,” Blood says.
In a recent interview with AllThingsD, Chambers said, “We love to compete, and we try to always compete with class.”
If Chambers believes Trollope’s blog is class, then he needs to look up the definition.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
View full post on ReadWrite
Myspace may have picked a bad day to open up its redesigned site to the public. While the dethroned social networking giant quietly opened its gates Tuesday morning, everybody in the tech world was busy preparing, and then dissecting, Facebook’s announcement of Graph Search.
But let’s not bury Myspace just yet. Called the New Myspace, the redesign, which entered beta last July, is not aimed at yanking anyone away from Facebook or Google+. Its goal, under the wing of pop singer/actor/Sean Parker-playing co-owner Justin Timberlake, is to do what Myspace did best in the waning days of the site’s mid-2000s popularity: give musicians, both professional and aspiring, a better way to interact with fans and help fans discover new music.
In some ways, though that means Myspace is now competing with music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, and that’s not going to be easy, even with Timberlake’s music industry clout.
Fresh Look, But No Groundbreaking Advances
Anyone who was interested last September got a look at the new Myspace when Timberlake tweeted a vimeo link to a preview of the redesign. Not much has changed since then.
To recap, the site jettisoned the vertical flow used by most other social networks, opting instead for a horizontal stream that naturally lays out status updates, shared songs and photos. All interactions also hinge on Myspace’s version of Facebook’s “Like” and Google’s “+1,” called Connect. Symbolized by a Venn diagram that unites when you decide to subscribe to a musician or find a friend, the Connect option is logical and looks nice, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.
The true innovation – in the minds of Timberlake and Specific Media, who co-purchased the site from News Corp. in 2011 for $35 million – is the black bar running across the bottom of the site.
While it resembles the ‘Now Playing’ bar at the top of iTunes and other streaming sites, Myspace’s implementation is meant to make playing and sharing music a central aspect of the experience. It puts the Home button, your Profile link and your Notification Center right alongside it, with Discover and Search options as well. Discover is the key to exploring Myspace, letting you see what’s trending and listen to custom radio stations and mixes.
Myspace’s music discovery service comes together in the interactions between the artist profiles and your own. Essentially, users connect to an artist, get updates from that artist, and can stream shared tracks – or even whole albums – while interacting with other fans, amateur musicians, DJs, producers, etc. To help facilitate this music-based interaction, new Myspace subscribers are asked to put themselves into one of a handful of categories, ranging from musician or venue to fan or promoter.
Early experimentation yields some interesting results. For instance, pulling up the Search tab next to the Discover button lets you type in the name of a band, and yields a list of streamable and sharable tracks, band info. Presumably as time goes on, the service will add actual updates from bands that agree to hop back on the Myspace bandwagon.
That’s the key, of course. The New Myspace looks and works fine. But the revived social network’s biggest, and most likely insurmountable, obstacle is that it’s a ghost town right now, and it will probably stay that way.
What Good Is Myspace In A Facebook/Spotify World?
The problem is that it’s simply too late for Myspace to capture any ground from its competitors.
Spotify, with its ever-increasing library of available music, Facebook-anchored sharing and playlist making, and tiered accounts for mobile and offline use is not going to lose users to Myspace, despite Justin Timberlake’s enthusiasm.
And that brings up another issue. Timberlake’s face plastered on Myspace’s homepage has been getting a lot of flak, and for good reason. Debuting his new single, “Suit & Tie,” on the homepage of the social network he co-owns may be good marketing, but could also be seen as a cheap, self-promotional move.
Myspace may have once been the king of social networking, but those days are gone forever. If Timberlake is able to convince fellow musicians to partner with the site, it’s likely to hang around for at least a while, but that’s about it.
View full post on ReadWrite
If you’re new to the field of blog management, you may have heard the phrase “evergreen content” thrown around time and time again by industry experts. But what is evergreen content and why is it so important to your blog’s overall success? Let’s clear up these questions and more by taking an in-depth look at [...]
The post What is Evergreen Content and Why Should You Care? appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
View full post on Search Engine Journal
Business 2 Community
Why Google Couldn't Care Less About Your Website
Business 2 Community
You: my new website. Google: am i bothered? Forgive the tone of this post, but the title of this post is as true as it was when I first started all those years ago in Search Marketing. Google couldn't care less about your brand newly designed website …
View full post on SEO – Google News
The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize promises to turn everybody into a Doctor McCoy by 2016. It could change everything about the way we practice medicine. But are we ready for it?
If you’re a redshirt thinking you might have a case of Rigelian Fever, where do you go for advice? Whether you’re planet-side or in the sick bay, odds are you’re going to start with a tricorder. In the Star Trek universe, the tricorder was a non-invasive, handheld device that scanned geological, meteorological, and biological data. When used by medical personnel, the tricorder could diagnose all but the rarest diseases.
The tricorder inspired X Prize Foundation Chairman Peter Diamandis, who wondered whether – with enough incentive – engineers could build a medical diagnostic tool that could monitor health and identify illness on the spot, without a doctor’s assistance. Add in $10 million in total prize money from Qualcomm and you have the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, launched in January, 2012.
In an interview earlier this year, Diamandis described the ideal healthcare tricorder:
“A device that is easy and friendly to use that a consumer–whether that’s a mom at home at 2:00 in the morning or someone on the road–can use to diagnose themselves without having to go to a doctor or a hospital. It’s really about reinventing the future of healthcare.”
It’s a tall order, but X Prize isn’t shying away. A successful tricorder will:
- Diagnose diseases
- Provide ongoing metrics of health (vitals)
- Allow monitoring or continuous use of sensors to diagnose and measure health
- Provide awareness of health state
- Give confirmation that everything is OK with a consumer
- Notify that something is not OK (a “check engine light”)
Specifically, the tricorder will be able to identify the following 11 conditions:
- Urinary tract infection
- Atrial fibrillation
- Strep throat
- Sleep apnea
- Melanoma screen
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Abnormalities in a comprehensive metabolic panel
Any winning device will have to be able to diagnose these conditions routinely and accurately.
Sounds great, right? So is there a catch?
Some people in the medical industry are a bit concerned. The tricorder’s goal is the “deskilling” of routine medical checks. Ultimately, for simpler ailments, it aims to remove doctors from the treatment equation altogether, down the line. Diamandis gets major points for going big in an industry as conservative as healthcare, but are we legally and physically prepared for the consequences?
There are plenty of things that could go wrong. What if a device misses a melanoma a visual inspection might have caught? Who’s legally responsible for malfunctions? Will a false sense of security cause users to skip routine physical checkups?
The Thermometer Test
To get some perspective, I ran the tricorder idea past a friend of mine who’s also an epidemiologist. He shared my enthusiasm, praising “any technology that gets people more involved managing their own health,” but immediately applied some cautionary brakes. “It’s a fantastic idea, and a big step when everyone is thinking incrementally. But it also kind of worries me.”
The reason? It might not pass “the thermometer test.”
To a doctor, the home thermometer is the single best piece of home medical equipment ever created. “It’s a perfect triage device,” my friend explained. “It provides accurate, objective information that medical personnel can use to make judgements. It’s a pretty good barometer to judge the severity of many common ailments, but it also doesn’t try to diagnose anything.”
In other words, a thermometer tells you if you’re running a fever, but it doesn’t try to tell you why. It provides critical data to healthcare personnel, but leaves the decision-making in their hands.
That can make a world of difference, particularly in situations requiring counseling or judgement of the patient’s mental state. “I’d hate to see physicians removed from the discussion. It’s not a matter of job security. It’s a matter of full-circle patient care.” He went on to surmise that absent a doctor at the point of diagnosis, users might be more likely to pursue treatment options online, or a diagnosis might unhinge a mentally fragile patient who could do harm to himself or others.
Concerns notwithstanding, self-diagnostic technology is coming, in condition-specific devices like a bra that detects breast cancer and general-purpose machines like the tricorder.
The first-gen Scanadu Scout, which falls nicely within the thermometer test zone, should be hitting the market in late 2013.
Like all data, medical information is useful only if its used properly. Here’s hoping that patients accept some responsibility along with their flashy new devices.
Lead image from Memory Alpha.
View full post on ReadWrite