Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Shiver-Inducing Preview Of The Coming DemCare Doctor Shortage

Remember that whole doctor shortage thing that will only get worse now that DemCare is law?  One of the solutions being bandied about is to utilize technology to make up for that lack of qualified doctors.  How might that play out?  Maybe like this:

The effort, loosely called e-Health or e-Care, combines health-care technology with 21st-century Internet connectivity. It will allow doctors to interact with their patients through innovations such as video chats, telephone health checkups, and home-health monitoring devices that relay data over wireless Internet connections.
"The development of the broadband network and health information technologies has the potential to truly transform health care and simultaneously enable better outcomes and lowering costs," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
One of the new health technologies on display last Thursday was an automatic drug dispenser that can monitor and adjust medication dosages wirelessly, allowing doctors to tailor dosages of drugs such as insulin without having to schedule in-person visits with patients. 
"What we're talking about, folks, is using a device like this one," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said, as he displayed the small device. "It attaches to the patient's skin and is loaded with drugs that are administered in the exact way that the doctor prescribes – wirelessly. 

Okay, let's stop and think for a moment, shall we?  First of all, while this idea has some merit in terms of reducing costs and increasing efficiency, it is profoundly disturbing.  I believe there are times when just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it.  This is one of those times.

What if you fall and dislodge the automatic injector?  What if the machine malfunctions and injects half a dose or twice the normal dose, or stabs you repeatedly?  What if your power goes out and the machine is in paperweight mode and you don't get your medication?  You have no qualified medical personnel around to spring into action in any of these or any other scenario.

Now, let's take the next step.  Do you trust anyone who has a wireless link directly into your body?  What if the doctor gets drunk after a birthday party and just happens to sit down in front of his computer for some real life entertainment?  What if his computer gets stolen, or what if he loses his smartphone?  Who's going to have access into your automatic injector?  Furthermore, do you trust the link itself?  Remember, the government is going to control the health care system in just a few more years...do you trust the government with a needle pointed at your heart and the ability to inject you remotely?  What if the link itself gets hacked?  Don't kid yourself that the United States has impenetrable security - remember this?  Or this?  If it's a wireless Internet connection, I assure you it can be hacked.

Quite frankly, this idea of having a wireless medical device strapped to (or, even worse, embedded in) my body that is controlled remotely by someone else is one of the scariest things I can imagine.  I would rather die than let that happen.  Of course, given where DemCare is headed -- unless the GOP can repeal it in the next four years -- that's entirely within the realm of possibility.

So be it.

But what do you think?  You'd better start giving it some thought...this isn't just science fiction anymore.

There's my two cents.

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