Friday, September 05, 2014

Cybernetic Medicine

Cybernetics, the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine, used to be the stuff of science fiction.  Today, thanks to a Faustian bargain between corporations, regulators, and politicians, it is defining medicine.

Every day, the exponential explosion of data entry and regulatory requirements doctors endure boggles the mind, all in the name of "health care." 

Feedback is critical to field of cybernetics.  And when Medicare's straps have you by the balls, you comply.

No longer is it good enough to learn a diagnosis or procedure code, doctors must attend online courses to learn how to use a new "calculator" to determine a more proper code.  After all, there will soon be over 70,000 of them.  Each more specific than the other, each more ridiculous.   There are five data-entry fields to click on that calculator, each another tiny, yet time-consuming decision to be made, just to determine a code.  No doubt teams of clever twenty-something computer programmers are overjoyed with their coding calculator and the way it pops up automatically on our screen when needed, then disappears.  So pretty.  So cool.  See how easy they've made it to complete that regulatory requirement?

And this does not begin to address the increasingly algorithmically-driven electronic medical record and procedures envisioned in the years ahead. As if all things can and must be perfectly defined and quantified in medicine.  No mistakes.  No judgment needed.  No need to type. Just close your eyes, click a few buttons, and follow the pathway.  Stop thinking. Just do it. Enter the data. Resistance is futile.

After all, it's about the money...

... and perfect physician cyborgs.

Feel that strap tightening?


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