Doctors today are constantly selling.
No, it didn’t start out that way, but a system has evolved that richly rewards members of the physician’s food chain if sales continue.
These sales include the selling of tests, pills, therapy, referrals, or simply selling the patient on their competency as a doctor.
Over the coming years, much of the selling will be replaced by data. Expert opinions get replaced by hard cold facts. Yes, this will unfold over time and the transition period will involve a multitude of probabilistic approaches that will eventually lead to a more factual-based decision-making process.
While many in the medical profession view this as taking away much of the doctor’s power and authority, it may be just the opposite. Big data is not the doctor’s enemy, but rather a hugely valuable important tool, perhaps the most important of all time.
Consider the following scenario.
Sometime in the not-too-distant future, patients walking into the doctor’s office will first receive a full-body scan, creating a complete data model built around several thousand data points. Any area that gives even the slightest hint of troublesome activity will warrant closer inspection.
For any number of conditions, rather than prescribing medicine as a treatment, doctors will prescribe a device. Devices will have a wide range of purposes ranging from ingestible cams and monitors, to wearable super data-collectors, to body function amplifiers, to pulse correctors, to early warning indicators.
During the transition period it will be a combination of drugs and devices, but eventually most medicinal treatments will be replaced with devices designed around coaxing the body into repairing itself.
Over time, doctors will transition from being the experts on human biology and medicine to being the experts on biological data and biological devices.
Here’s why understanding this transition period is so important.