#37: Medical pattern detector

Access to anyone with a medical qualification is getting more difficult: and more expensive (This largely the result of the medical profession’s desperate attempts to maintain its fee rates -£100k on average, even for a caring, professional GP seems seriously wrong. In the UK, these people take no risk and are allowed to police themselves).

One contribution to the problem might be the following. If feeling unwell, people could visit their personal secure webpage on which would be displayed, a zoomable, detailed map of their body. They could use this to log any pains or other problems and provide a detailed description of any illness -just as they would if actually visiting a medic). When I say detailed I mean that they should also have the opportunity of describing how they actually feel -if they have a headache, exactly how is it spatially distributed? Does it seem to have a colour?  When does it bother them most? Is it ‘sharp’ or ‘dull’ or ‘throbbing’ etc.

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An expert system, aware of their history and genetic background, would monitor these inputs, ask further questions and alert the individual’s doctor in the case of any rapid change in symptoms. It would also watch for recurrent or correlated problems which may seem insignificant but which form a pattern, over time, that is often hard for a patient to spot.

Other functions might include providing hearing or sight tests on the screen, issuing reminders to an individual to take medication or do some exercise. It might even take in eg retinal imagery via webcam. This system would also gradually gather data from the population as a whole which could be mined for otherwise invisible patterns. Perhaps people who are about to die of a heart attack commonly experience a tingling in their limbs of which doctors are never made aware.

This could save the NHS the cost of a few hospitals per year, as long as it wasn’t implemented by the usual incompetent contractors.

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