Christian Long

Eric Dishman: Take Health Care off the Mainframe

In TED Talks on May 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Reflection by DEREK M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Eric Dishman:  Take Health Care off the Mainframe

Eric Dishman speaks of a subject that is too often forgotten. Healthcare for the elderly has come up recently in the news and in the governmental debate on healthcare reform. Healthcare is in the process of being systemized, mechanized, and de-personalized. This methodical method needs to be replaced by the personal care that our nation used to provide. If healthcare becomes systemized, what else will be affected? How will the elderly population be taken care of? Machines do not have the discretion of a real person, and we require person to person interaction, not person to machine interaction. The healthcare of the elderly is an essential topic that is too often pushed aside. It needs to be addressed not only as a nation, but individually as well.

The need for personalized health care is evident in Dishman’s talk. He really seems knowledgeable in the system of healthcare. What is most interesting is the onset of diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers? The cognitive thinking process is very interesting. Seniors frequently forget to take their medication or to go to the doctor or even that their children are coming over for dinner. What is most fascinating about Dishman’s idea is the fact that caretakers can look for signs of dementia way before they can be clinically treated for it.

With the new health care bill, healthcare is being manipulated so that people go to the hospital for anything that can be possibly wrong with the patient. All this does is make healthcare less personal, less effective, and overall less efficient.

Hospitals do not need to have a 4 hour wait in the emergency room. People with serious illnesses need to be treated before those who just come in with a fever. Health care is systemizing because it is necessary to have a method in which the most people can be ‘treated’ in the least amount of time with the intent that they will be able to figure out how to treat the injury personally. However, this is not a reality. People are going to hospitals even more often than before because the hospitals are doing a less than satisfactory job the first time they treat injuries. Home health care could take these dangerous realities down to minimum. If there were a system invented where health care could be taken to the home, limiting the visits to the doctor and the emergency room, health care could become much more effective, but with the rushes of patients in the hospital 24/7, there is not enough time or energy to treat all of the patients properly.

The health care system needs to be proactive. From preventing injuries to realizing the onset of diseases before they happen, the health care system needs personalized treatments with attention to detail that machines are not capable of doing. There is no replacement for a real doctor. No machine can diagnose dementia before it happens. Machines are generally reactive. They wait for something to occur before they can tell what has happened. They analyze given data. They do not see what is coming. Humans cannot be replaced with machines or a method of healthcare, especially in regards to the elderly population.

“We’re going to figure something out for the next 10 years, and try it. No matter who pays for it, we better start doing care in a fundamentally different way and treating the home and the patient and the family member, and the caregivers as part of these coordinated care teams and using disruptive technologies that are already here to do care in some pretty fundamental different ways.”

The focus of the health care today is how we are going to pay for it. Realistically that is a major concern, but moentarial shortage has not stopped us before. America needs to figure out what will make this nation healthier, more productive, and overall more well taken care of. The money is another issue. The idea comes first, then we need to worry about how much it will cost.

“It’s not that innovation and technology is going to be the magic pill that cures all, but it’s going to be part of the solution. And if we don’t create a personal health movement, something that we’re all aiming towards in reform, then we’re going to move nowhere.”

If you were interested in this talk you might want to try the following link:


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