Computerized Cognition: computers can provide real-time cognitive support

Real-time cloud-based computing can supplement the human cognitive limitations of professional healthcare providers by:

  • retrieving immediately any data from accessible source files
  • locating and running any accessible programmed procedures
  • executing Bayesian multivariate similarity/predictive analyses
  • executing Boolean rules with compound conditions/actions
  • continuously (24X7X365) monitoring events and notifying systems/staff when defined parameter limits are exceeded

“Computers, far from being the problem, are the solution. But using them to manage the complexity of 21st-century medicine will require fundamental changes in the way we think about thinking and in the structure of medical education and research …

If a root cause of our challenges is complexity, the solutions are unlikely to be simple. Asking doctors to work harder or get smarter won’t help. Calls to reduce “unnecessary” care fall flat: we all know how difficult it’s become to identify what care is necessary. Changing incentives is an appealing lever for policymakers, but that alone will not make decisions any easier: we can reward physicians for delivering less care, but the end result may simply be less care, not better care.

The first step toward a solution is acknowledging the profound mismatch between the human mind’s abilities and medicine’s complexity. Long ago, we realized that our inborn sensorium was inadequate for scrutinizing the body’s inner workings — hence, we developed microscopes, stethoscopes, electrocardiograms, and radiographs. Will our inborn cognition alone solve the mysteries of health and disease in a new century? The state of our health care system offers little reason for optimism.

But there is hope. The same computers that today torment us with never-ending checkboxes and forms will tomorrow be able to process and synthesize medical data in ways we could never do ourselves. Already, there are indications that data science can help us with critical problems.”

Source: The Limits of the Human Mind and the Future of Medicine, Ziad Obermeyer, M.D., and Thomas H. Lee, M.D., N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1209-1211September 28, 2017; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1705348

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