Technology and the Dumbing Down of Your Doctor


This article in Forbes is written by a well known physician who is high up in the medical tech industry. Dr. Roy Smythe is CEO of HX360 and Chief Medical Officer of AVIA.  He tries to make the case that technology can dumb your doctor down but it is all worth it.  Here is the last part of his piece:

The doctor is rapidly becoming a combination of technology, readily accessible digital information, and a caring human capable of synthesizing and using that information at your behest, when needed (and the human will not always be needed). This combination is remarkably smarter than the biologic entity to whom we commonly now refer to as “doctor,” and certainly not “dumbed down.”

I do add one note of caution here, however, related to artificial intelligence technologies such as IBM’s Watson and Google Brain. If there is a diminishing need for physicians to actually synthesize and use that readily available information by virtue of technologies replacing that activity, then I am actually am somewhat concerned about the future impetus for humans learning the science of medicine in the first place.

So, as I stare down the barrel of the second half of my life, and await patient-hood, do I think that those medical students should put their smart phones and tablets away?

No… but let’s make sure that we protect that power grid, and keep the batteries charged.

Smythe truly is biased here but he tips his hand on where healthcare is headed.  This is not about dumbing down doctors.  Once again, the powers that be want to get rid of us doctors.  And our protectors, our leaders, and our advocacy groups are doing nothing to protect us. This, in my opinion, is a huge mistake because human doctors can never be replaced.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Technology and the Dumbing Down of Your Doctor

  1. RichardB
    May 20, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    How will the computer know if someone is lying, or just making a joke or using hyperbole?

  2. Pat
    May 18, 2015 at 8:17 am

    “Resistance is futile.”

    My response to Dr. Smythe is that no one in their right mind should want to waste their life on a medical career. The medical drones he wants to synthesize would be happier as human beings doing honest work in high-tech, without the farcical institutionalized compassion and stupid platitudes.

  3. Steve O'
    May 18, 2015 at 7:58 am

    On the same day, I read of a crash of the V-22 Osprey that killed a marine and injured 22. Technology has managed to “dumb down” our military forces, or at least it tried to. The marvelous flying machine V-22 is a massively overpriced air hazard that is generally loathed by the enlisted men forced to fly in it. In the Unlimited Cost/Bad Product model, it was created from a poor design, and then rolled out under the principle that it was too late to scrub the project.
    I have seen it fly from a quarter-mile away. We finally have deployed an airplane that is vulnerable to medieval siege machines, and that is no joke. At 200 feet above the ground, it seems to be traveling no faster than 60 mph; surely within decent bowshot range of the average Mongol invader.
    When they say “dumb down,” they mean “render disposable.” Our military forces know that some in command value their lives; and others see them as disposables. The Public Retail Medicine model sees doctors as disposable – train them, use them, throw them away. Unfortunately, their plan to expand the pool of “medical delivery units” is doomed to failure. Perhaps if the training were reduced to six months, the turnover could be sustained, if one wishes to trust technology.
    The V-22 reminds us that we should not.

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