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Martin Odber

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Can the shortage of doctors be solved using an adaptation of the third law of supply and demand?

The third law of supply and demand states "If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price."
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand )

If we increased the rate of new doctors entering medicine (using mechanisms such as but not limited to; subsidizing doctors education, further compartmentalizing aspects of health care etc ) until we reached a surplus state then would waiting times and the cost of healthcare go down accordingly?


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    Sep 21 2013: Reading the scans and test results is precisely what it can do. The advantages over a human come from the ability to compare them to the whole body of literature, with maximum consistency of judgment. Further, the computer can perform these analyses very quickly.

    The specific development in Watson is the program's ability to understand language. The Wikipedia page makes for fascinating reading; it duplicates many of the functions of the human brain with language, and compensates with deep parallel processing, a huge database, and computation.

    It also suggests treatments. 90% of nurses with access heed its recommendation. Revolutionary tool.

    Edit: Apologies, this was supposed to be in response to your comment, Tom.
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      Sep 22 2013: Absolutely fascinating stuff. Is there any price tag on this for the general public to obtain? Can you offer a link to it, you mentioned Wikipedia?

      The cloud aspects and the common language interface of Watson are particularly interesting. I wonder if it REALLY must be a doctor offering the input.. (impact on waiting rooms if say a nurse practitioner or other could do it) .. or.. as some other participants suggest higher self help in the community to lower wait times.. could Watson be offered to the general public as a cell phone app attached to Watsons cloud brain?
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        Sep 22 2013: http://www-03.ibm.com/innovation/us/watson/putting_watson_to_work.shtml

        The above is a link to IBM's page on Watson's applications. One of three chief areas is healthcare, with associated video (albeit advertising, so criticism must be found elsewhere). The pricing estimate found in a 2010 NYT article found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/magazine/20Computer-t.html puts it into the millions, as the base cost for the hardware on which the program runs amounts to $1m right out of the gate. Current pricing information is scarce, presumably because it is so variable in terms of newer hardware and the precise nature of services, support, licensing, etc. In either event, the computer would be purchased in the same fashion as any other machine, with appropriate consequences for costs of operation and effectiveness of treatment.

        I have a related thought I will address as a separate topic, however.

        Here is a graphic that explains throws out some current cancer numbers and the flow and function of Watson in that process:

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          Sep 23 2013: Ryan, from an individual standpoint the pricing is staggering. However, more than one participant in this conversation suggested broadening education throughout the community etc to decrease reliance on doctors etc for less than demanding purposes.

          A government could make a purchase of this size with pocket change. What would happen if say a government like Canada purchased this hardware/software offering it in a cloud atmosphere on a "use at your own risk" basis for any citizen of the country to access via computer or cell phone app?

          Would the general accurate access to diagnosis it provide reduce our overall reliance on doctors and medical facilities enough to be worth considering?

          Would it result in a higher standard of health for all citizens overall?

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