Sunday, September 26, 2010

THE MARCH OF THE ROBOT DOCTORS

I came across it again, so maybe it’s not the 15-minute fad I thought it was: robot doctors.

A stainless-steel machine wheels up to your bedside, a human face displayed on its monitor screen. The face is that of a real physician who’s three floors or maybe a thousand miles away. Sensors that pop from the gadget take your pulse, blood pressure, temperature. At her end, the human doc reads an electronic rendition of your history and test results, and says to you, through the monitor, “Not to worry. We think we know what’s going on now, and you’ll be fine. Here’s a medication to calm your nerves.” A handlike process offers you a little blue pill.

Yup, looks like this might be the future. Think about it. Why pay five docs two hundred K each when you can get the same done with one doc and five twenty-K robots? Do the math. Business is business, after all, and make no mistake: healthcare is business on steroids. So get used to it, Patient #2375-D-00714.

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