Your New Medical Team: Algorithms and Physicians

Medical AlgorithmDepartment of Engineering, Roma Tre University | Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
link to source
The New York Times.

Can machines outperform doctors? Not yet. But in some areas of medicine, they can make the care doctors deliver better.

Humans repeatedly fail where computers — or humans behaving a little bit more like computers — can help. Even doctors, some of the smartest and best-trained professionals, can be forgetful, fallible and prone to distraction. These statistics might be disquieting for anyone scheduled for surgery: One in about 100,000 operations is on the wrong body part. In one in 10,000, a foreign object — like a surgical tool — is accidentally left inside the body.

Something as simple as a checklist — a very low tech-type of automation — can reduce such errors. For example, in a wide range of settings, surgical complications and mortality fell after implementation of a basic checklist including verification of patient identity and body part for surgery, confirmation of sterility of the surgical environment and equipment, and post-surgical accounting for all medical tools. Though simple procedures would all but eliminate certain sources of infections in hospitals, thousands of patients suffer from them in American hospitals…

Continue reading here.