A problem with algorithmic medicine.

A lot of the future of medicine is based on the gamble that “apps” – algorithms, artificial intelligence, what have you – can be taught to make the connections that physicians do in medical practice.

One of the problems with this myth is that it is an old idea dressed up in new clothes.  One of the most important essays in modern American

history is Peabody’s Care of the Patient, in the 1927 JAMA.  It’s linked in a number of places, such as Washington University here. It lays out a round and damning criticism of algorithmic medicine, before the days of the iPad.

We imagine that what we do can be turned mechanical by IT.  That is part of a great error that we take about human endeavors – a lazy error.  Let the machine do it.

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