Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The ATM that can diagnose your symptoms...

So, I am huge fan of finding new ways to implement technology to make our lives easier, provide us quick and easy access to information, and enable us to connect with others in real-time. Well, in this installment of iWeb I stumbled upon a post titled: "Diagnosis From A Kiosk" - http://tinyurl.com/cmaekg.

This excerpt in particular caught my attention, as Mass General Hospital has found a way to improve our healthcare system leveraging wicked technology:
Massachusetts General Hospital is developing this computerized kiosk that physicians hope can help bring some relief to the healthcare system. The kiosk will be able to track a patient's medical history, weight, pulse, blood pressure, and other vital signs. It'll even perform simple blood tests for glucose and cholesterol. The Project is a small Windows computer with a few attachments -- a blood-pressure cuff, a scale, to start. The goal is to decrease the wait time at doctor's offices and the time the doctor usually needs to assess your problem.

Yet, as novel as the concept is, it also has me thinking that it could further exacerbate a well documented condition; cyberchondria (i.e., I think I read somewhere that something like 9% of all doctor's office visits are from people who have conditions like hypochondria).

To be able to pick up quick vitals like cholesterol levels from a kiosk sounds kind of cool, and the mere fact that the technology is in place to pull this off sounds like a good way to reduce hospital wait times, etc., but it also sounds like a good way to have people who already over self-diagnose get pushed a little too close to the edge. Therefore, without careful monitoring of machine usage and the people who are actually using them has me a little concerned for the general public's well-being. But, with monitoring comes a huge privacy concern. Heck, the machines itself sound like a privacy concern...

So, digitally - this tech is totally cool in my book - but it's also a little concerning on the same note... What do you think? Any thoughts?

1 comment:

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