From iPhone to RxDrone, that’s what will be sold to the public as “the new medicine.” You can get on your phone, take pictures of the problem place that’s bleeding or itching or whatever, and use the iApp that connects you in real time with a doctor who can listen to your symptoms, diagnose your problem, and order the medicines you need – dispached from the mini helipad at your local pharmacy! Wow!!
Except not.
The house of cards – the big bet on the table – is that medicine can be commoditized and retail-ized so that you just get what you want. Modern economics depends on the offering of a small number of standardized products to the willing buyer.
The fly in the ointment is liability and responsibility. That’s where the “big bucks” are in healthcare spending. Doctors, pharmaceuticals, hospitals – they all sustain massively increased expenses in doing business because they shoulder the liability for the quality of the product they deliver.
Such responsibilities are the choices of societies, not eternal laws. More caution, less risk, more cost. If the buyer bears all the liability, you can get stuff real cheap.
Phone/Drone medicine is pitching itself as independence and taking control of your life. In reality, the more you “call the shots,” the more the responsibility for getting it right rests on you.
So if your wife is 35 years old, and takes contraceptives and sustains a blood clot – and the blood clot goes to her lungs and kills her – who was supposed to be watching out for her? Who’s minding the store?
If society is willing to take a 98% product success rate, there’s tons of money to be had. As long as we tolerate a 2% rate of ‘nature taking its course.’
What do you believe?