Top 10 Future Medical Advancements that You’ll Probably Use to Save Lives

A 69-year-old today has the same likelihood of dying as a 15-year-old hunter-gatherer once had. We are living longer and longer lives, and in the next decade several new technologies and procedures could extend the lives of our patients even further. Learn about just a few of the innovations that may one day be your best shot at saving, or just preserving someone’s life. Featured image from Flickr | Brookhaven National...

Is IBM’s Watson The Future Of Medical Decision Making?

Ever since soundly winning Jeopardy! in 2011, IBM’s Watson has been quite busy. Besides soundly beating out members of Congress in an untelevised Jeopardy! match, Watson also became possibly the smartest second-year medical student of all time. But like any bright medical student, Watson didn’t just stop there. IBM recently announced the development of two paradigm-shifting projects, WatsonPath, a diagnosis and education program, and Watson EMR Assistant, a tool for analyzing information stored in medical records. Building upon Watson’s question-answering abilities, WatsonPath draws from clinical guidelines, evidence-based studies, and reference materials to either support or refute a set of hypotheses. WatsonPath is essentially the algorithm machine every medical student wishes they had in their head during board exams. And with a “learning regimen” that includes breaking down board-style questions, why wouldn’t WatsonPath score the highest USMLE score ever? How can WatsonPath be used as an educational tool? The video above explains how the project not only offers answer suggestions, but also displays a schematic flow diagram showing the reasoning behind answers and confidence levels. WatsonPath breaks down clinical scenarios the same way any medical student would, looking at signs and symptoms, interpreting lab values, and searching for key associations. The project is currently being assimilated into the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Beyond the classroom walls, the possibilities of Watson for actual...

The Coolest Smartphone Adjuncts to Enhance Patient Care (and Make Your Friends Insanely Jealous)

Your iPhone is your best friend. Not only does it keep track of important meetings and give you access to your many email accounts, but you can also detect that new Fitz and the Tantrums song and instantly tweet it to all your friends in the span of 30 seconds. What you may not have realized is that it can also be used to aid in the assessment of your patients and to help guide patient care. Here are 4 of the coolest attachments to transform your smartphone into a diagnostic device: 1.   Welch-Allyn PanOptic iExaminer   If your (lack of) skill level is anything like mine, your attempts at funduscopic exams are met with incomplete, transient views of optic discs and getting stoked when you can identify even a red reflex.  With the advent of the PanOptic ophthalmoscope, fancy preceptor offices will afford you the ability to see the entire retina in one field, but what the heck do you do with this information and how do you relay it? Thanks to the iExaminer attachment, you can hook that Welch-Allyn PanOptic up to an iPhone for just under $100 and share these images with your attending and even with your patients.  So that’s what a flare hemorrhage looks like!   2.   Cellscope Oto System     While at the community health fair, you realize that 2 year old...

Student Debt: About the Mortgage Weighing You Down

So, I feel bad that all of my posts seem to do nothing but poke holes in the bubble that protects medical students from the “real world.”  I started with the threats to GME, and then brought home the government shutdown…and now I’m about to do the same with student debt.  But talk about it or not, this hulking Goliath is going to catch up with many of you one way or another, so I figure best to be prepared. Let’s get the numbers out of the way first: 86%– the amount of graduates from 2012 who had debt $166,750– the average amount of debt for these graduates from medical school ONLY.  Let’s note that there is actually a bimodal peak here, with over 1/3 of these students having debt > $200,000 (meaning that the average is skewed down thanks to those scholarship recipients). $49,651– the average salary of a 2012 intern. This equates to under $13/hr as residents work 40-80 hours per week. 36%– the amount of these graduates who also have undergraduate debt   Briefly I want to talk to you about a cushion we used to have called “federal loan subsidies”.  There were loans called subsidized Stafford loans that did not begin accruing interest until 6 months after the student graduated medical school.  But then Section 502 of the Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated this...

4 Halloween Costumes for Almost Docs

1. A human genome. Grab 22 of your closest friends and throw two of these bad boys tied together in the middle. If you can grab your sister and each of you wear one and stick together, bonus points for being “sister” chromatids. 2. Dermatome Man. You can either number or color code if you want to get really fancy. 3. Medically accurate skeleton: Instead of this… do this… …your a med student now, and you know better. 4. Homunculus LIVE + =...

Get Your “Exorcise” This Halloween…

Happy Halloween from The Doctor’s Channel! It’s the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist, and The Doctor’s Channel has added its own little twist to this classic American horror film. If you like pea soup, you WON’T want to miss the ending! Don’t forget to share this great video card with your colleagues...

Can Women in Medicine Ever Have it All?

A couple of weeks ago I was at the grocery store and I ran into one of the top neurologists at our hospital. It was odd to see her in a different context. She’s a slight woman, usually white-coat clad with glasses and a stern gaze. When she smiled at me and gave a small wave as I passed her in the aisle, it took a few moments for it to register who she was. I exchanged pleasantries with her and took in what she looked like “on the outside”. Still slight in build, but sans glasses and clad in jeans and a nice blouse. Her cart was filled with produce– and baby food–and her adorable toddler was babbling at me from his seat in the shopping cart. The next time I crossed paths with her in the hospital, I realized that my perspective of her had undergone a tectonic shift; one that I wasn’t proud of. I like to envision myself as a forward-thinking, equality-proponing young woman; but after that encounter in the grocery store, I saw her as softer. Where before I had been intimidated by her, as I am by most physicians, somehow seeing her as a mother had really changed my perspective. I wondered, then, if her colleagues had– or did — feel the same way. Not long after my paradigm shift, I read an...

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