Monday, January 17, 2011

A Department of Innovation: Allowing Creative Mistakes in Medicine

While simultaneously delighting in Matt Ridley’s book The Rational Optimist, coupled with Thomas Hager’s The Demon Under the Microscope and a string of books on innovation,* I’ve been struck repeatedly by an idea that I first encountered in Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel—Invention is the mother of necessity.

Ridley states:
As the scientist Terence Kealey has observed, modern politicians …. believe that the recipe for making new ideas is easy: pour public money into science, which is a public good, …. and watch new technologies emerge from the downstream end of the pipe. Trouble is, .... science is much more like the daughter than the mother of technology....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Perfect Storm: Digital Natives, Personalized Medicine, and Baby Boomers

Loosely substantiated prediction: The technological expectations and facility of digital natives and the self-absorbed health demands of the geriatric baby boomers will meet at a time when today’s breakthroughs in personalized medicine have sufficiently matured to usher changes in healthcare that can only be described as revolutionary in the fullest sense of the word.

Einstein Wanted Philosophy Taught in Med School

Two things compelled me to write this post— Dr. Kent Bottles’s post about becoming a “savvy healthcare consumer” and a Teaching Company course on Albert Einstein. Together, they highlighted for me the need to bring real philosophy material into the modern medical school. (If pressed for time, you are far better served reading Dr. Bottles's piece.)

I’m a bit of a philosophy junkie, and I realize that talk is especially cheap in a field as real-world and empirical as medicine. It’s hard enough to get ethics through the wishy washy filter. Yet, it’s the very empirical nature of medicine that necessitates a look at empirical philosophy and epistemology.