Doctors texting during surgery? Amazon vs. Solitaire Video Games, Zynga next?

What  dangers will Zynga bring to surgery?

Recently there has been growing concern over mobile technology and its impact in safety.
First, the National Transportation Safety Board supports a nationwide ban of cell-phone use while driving.  They want to ban all forms of cell-phone use, including hands-free use.  While there are many arguments against this (safety of disruptive kids in car compared to hands free cellphone use) there is a clear message that is being sent.  Fundamentally, if you cannot multitask, then you should do nothing but focus on one thing, such as when driving a car.  Although this group of single taskers is likely a minority, we are facing proposals that force all of us to suffer from the benefits of having a cellphone.

More interesting to me is the "surprise" that doctors are being distracted by mobile devices in the hospital.   Recently,  a New York Times article points out this phenomenon.  http://nyti.ms/tr8ctn  Throughout the years I have seen doctors and staff reading books, playing solitaire, surfing the web and texting during surgical procedures.   In order to appreciate this, let me describe the operating theater. The surgeon and his or her assistances are scrubbed and  unable to touch anything nonsterile. There's a whole slew of people who support the operation. Typically, there is anesthesiologist plus or minus  a medical student. It is not uncommon at all, that once the patient is asleep, and the operation is underway, for the anesthesiologist to review articles, read a book, or lecture a medical student. There are alarms that would indicate any change, and on a regular basis, the anesthesiologist checks the monitors.

 The question is, do mobile devices bring a new level of distraction, when compared to, medical students, books, journals, and computer?   For now, I will wait and see. I am not sure, that mobile devices pose a greater risk then Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Linkedin, and now Zynga!


Surgeon under investigation. Who is next?

Once again, the conflict of being a surgeon in the United States is exposed.   Read the article in the Wall Street Journal above and share your comments.

3D on IPAD 2? Implications for Healthcare

3D Display Possible on IPAD:

With higher resolution displays and increased mobility, we are beginning to get a glimpse of the future- a soon to occur leap in technology adoption- especially in healthcare.  For the past 10 years, Hospitals have in general been conservative, slow moving, enterprise institutions, adopting technology with understandable reservation.

With the exponential advances in hardware and software, the question is not what to adopt, but how to adopt mobile technology.  The IPAD 2 and future generations open up a world of 3D PACS viewers for radiologist and clinicians, interactive consents for patients, and dynamic models for patient educations, enhancing the patient-doctor experience.

Equally critical as to adoption of new technology is how we dispose of old technology.  Hopefully we will not continue to create technology cemeteries in developing countries by sending our used parts, where there is no man power or infrastructure to support outdated technology.

Man robs bank for $1 to go to jail for FREE Healthcare

"As if conjured up by a presidential speechwriter to star in an anecdote about America’s dysfunctional health insurance system, James Verone, an unemployed 59-year-old with a bad back, a sore foot and an undiagnosed growth on his chest, limped into a bank in Gastonia, N.C., this month and handed the teller a note, explaining that this was an unarmed robbery, but she’d better turn over $1 and call the cops. That, he figured, would be enough to get himself arrested and sent to prison for a few years, where he could take advantage of the free medical care.

Just to make sure that no one was confused about his intentions, Mr. Verone made sure to let the teller know that he would be sitting on a couch in the bank, waiting for the police. Before he set out for the bank that morning, he also mailed a letter explaining his scheme to a local newspaper, The Gaston Gazette."
Sitting in a Starbucks in Toronto, I share this story.  Saddened by the state of our healthcare system, reflecting on the "danger" years, those years just before retirement, where law abiding citizen, who are employed without insurance, or unemployed are at high risk of development of new diseases, but neglect their own health because of a broken healthcare system- one that promotes near death events for care.
The conversation quickly led to the various scams that canadians use for "free healthcare", scams involving acupuncture, massage, etc- pay as you go, with etc...

Breaking News: New Nucleotides Identified in Human DNA

Things just got much harder...
In medical school and in college we all learn that there are only four basic units that make up DNA — adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. 
So a typical string of DNA that is sequenced is a bunch of ATCGTGA etc, so we thought.

A study published online in the most recent issue of Science magazine, researchers from the University of North Carolina School’s medical school have discovered the seventh and eight bases of DNA.“Before we can grasp the magnitude of this discovery, we have to figure out the function of these new bases,” said Yi Zhang, biochemistry and biophysics professor at UNC’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

So what does this mean for research?  Stem-Cell, molecular biology and cancer?  What does this mean for all those who have spent thousands on getting their DNA sequenced? Free upgrade?

Certainly this will be a hot area for exploration, both in research and to those who will be interviewing for medical school admission!  Critical to accelerating our understanding will be the role of emerging software and hardware capabilities.  Hopefully we will be able to dive deeper into the genetic aspects of rare-diseases, advancing discoveries and potential therapies.