Graham Azon Is Impressive

January 9, 2007

I am so completely impressed with this Stanford medical student.  Please take a look at what he has made (video):

Doctors, nurses, med students, patients, we should be embarrassed.

Welcome 2007. You can email, send instant messages, order airline tickets in seconds, track that airplane as it flies across the globe, manage your calendar, work on documents and spreadsheets in real time with your friends and colleagues, even read newspapers from around the freaking globe. But our computerized medical records (or whatever you want to call them) can’t even print out labs in the right order. This is, in a word, ridonkulous. Hospitals and clinics should demand more. The big medical record makers should provide more. Their interfaces, truly, look like they’re from 1990.

I have spent a little over a year in hospitals, working as an upcoming doctor, and I’ve seen 8 completely different electronic medical records.

Over the year I’ve tried to collect ideas about the best features (and worst) of these different systems, and I’ve put them all together in something I call (for lack of better): the GMR (Grahamazon Medical Record).

Reason to go to Medical School: AIDS in Africa

December 12, 2006

Prevalence rates of AIDS in AfricaI’m in medical school (partly) because I can’t shut my brain off and need to constantly be assuming information.  Boredom is a fate worse than death and this field is the balm.  So aside from reading about Infectious Diseases for my Pathophysiology exam this Thursday, I’m also reading the blogs of Cosmologists, Financial Advisors, Politics, and Economists.  Today, we have synergy.

In Infectious Diseases, I’ve just learned about the rates for sexual exposure to HIV among different groups.

  • Male exposes Female (1/200 – 1/2000)
  • Female exposes Male (1/700 – 1/3000)
  • Male exposes Male (1/10 – 1/1,600)

Do those look low to you?  These rates are not sufficiently high to either cause or sustain an epidemic!  So how the hell are these epidemics sustained in Africa?  The hypothesis provided in my notes:

  • HIV transmission rates are too low to explaoin the epidemic
  • HIV transmission is intermittently amplified by increasing genital tract shedding
  • Amplified transmission is critical to the spread of HIV

So imagine my absolute excitement to find this article by the famous economist, Emily Osler!  Three Things You Don’t Know About AIDS in Africa.

  1. It’s the wrong disease to attack
  2. It won’t disappear until poverty does
  3. There is less of it than we thought, but it’s spreading as fast as ever

I encourage you to read it for yourself.  But we’re not done yet.  If you really want to stretch your mind, you have to surround yourself with mind-stretching ideas.  That’s where TED comes in.  Technology Education Design is an annual conference that brings together remarkable people from around the world into one space to share something valuable: their ideas.  I subscribe to the TEDTalks Podcast and often listen to these 20 minute videos again and again (if you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to them on the web here).  And thanks to this wonderful resource, I’ve learned about Larry Brilliant.  He is a physician and his life story is remarkable including living in India for 10 years studying under a Hindu sage, becoming a diplomat for the United Nations, and in his capacity as an epidemiologist he presiding over the last case of smallpox on the planet.  In his talk (you can listen to it here) he describes the effort it took to hunt down the disease, door to door, over and over, for years.  He’s amazing, and it will take people like him to actually take what we are learning about the spread of AIDS in Africa and actually turn that information into eradication.

And I wouldn’t have put any of this together if I had decided to study something else.

Recommended Links 01

December 11, 2006

Thanks to the brilliant folks that invented aggregators, I have the ability to subscripe to over 60 blogs and have their new posts sent straight to me without having to check their site each day. If you haven’t picked one up yourself, I highly recommend them. They are so choice. My favorite is Google Reader though I hear that RSSOwl is also good and would suffice.

So I read a lot and a good portion of it is worth sharing. If you’d like to see everything that I think is worth sharing, click here. While I can’t contribute just now (test tomorrow morning and on Thursday, followed by celebration for finishing up the first two years of medical school) I thought I’d offer a few links to keep you busy.

Aggravated DocSurg writes,

“I belong to this quirky group of docs that gets together once a month — we have a few adult beverages and a nice dinner, and then each evening two of us give a talk.”

He then gives us his story about Rudolf Erich Raspe. I have read this article three times over and still want to read it again. I can’t imagine the thunderous applause that greeted him when he finished. If you’re like me and want to know more after reading it for the fourth time, bone up on “The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen.”

Steve Mirsky writes Antigravity for Scientific American and he always Read the rest of this entry »