Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

A matter of perspective

Imagine if Boeing 737s started falling from the sky.  Say, once a week.  For a year.  

What would be the response?  What would the news coverage be like?  The investigations?  What kind of decline would we see in air travel?

Fortunately for those of us who fly rather regularly, this is just a thought experiment.  But what's rather sobering is that this is equivalent to the number of patients who it's estimated die each year as a result of errors in prescriptions.  7,000 people a year.  (Another 1.5M are injured but live.)  

These stats and analogy are from an article in Time magazine on a company looking to help promote electronic prescriptions instead of the scrawled handwritten prescriptions most doctors hand over to their patients and pharmacies.   Article:  Chasing Paper from Medicine

I have to say, our sons' pediatricians office is completely computerized - the doctors walk into the room with palmtop computers and wireless cards, and bring up and update the kids "charts" electronically.  It's nice to be able to have them put in the latest height/weight measurements and then swivel around the PC to show us the updated graph, or to know that when they "write" a prescription *by sending it to print at the front desk) there won't be any (or at least a very minimal) chance of an error.

Tom Peters has also been blogging a fair bit on healthcare and how much progress we should be able to make through a little focus, a little investment, and a bit of technology.  Link:  Hopefully it won't be too long before we start to see progress in this area.