But we already know all of this. This is a reflection of what has been. The plain truth is that the flattening of the world's information landscape has made all of us potential experts of microinformation, limited only by the accessibility and navigability of our search results. Be it adjusting a carburator or deriving Feynman's equation, the knowledge available on the internet has already permeated the average consumer's consciousness to the point where we fully expect to be able to find the answer to virtually any question just by searching online. But what about actually acting on this information?
Many consumers today educate themselves about their next mobile phone purchase to a degree that dwarfs the self-directed education they engage in when they have acute health concerns. Why is this? Some would point to the psychology of consumerism, to keeping material objects of 'gee whiz' fascination at the forefront of our collective consciousness. Others may point out that most of us don't wish to consider illness, injury or ailment during the majority of our lives, which are often spent in relatively good health for most of us. The reasons are likely myriad and complex but there are certain obstacles to acquiring health related information that can be broken down and eliminated, given the information and technologies available to us online and on our ubiquitous smartphones.
Practicing medicine requires an approach to a specific problem-also called a 'chief complaint'-that combines a measure of analog and digital reasoning, the art and the science of medicine. A patient's chief complaint immediately elicits from an educated and trained physician a list of possible-or 'differential'-diagnoses just based on the patient's initial phrasing alone. From that moment, through a series of interrogative questions regarding the patient's personal history, their medical history, their related symptoms, the presence or absence of other possible symptoms and some objective elements such as heart rate and temperature, that trained physician is able to make a relatively short list of probable differential diagnoses that may then be further honed by physical manifestations such as bruising or tenderness. By taking the answers to these questions and combining them with the specific findings on the body, doctors can very reliably make a short list of those ailments a patient is most likely to be suffering from. Even without the benefit of CT scans, blood tests or x-rays, this short list can be assembled just by asking the right questions and diligently applying the information thus gleaned in a framework of evidence-based algorithms. This is what physicians are trained to do and it's how they dispense medical advice and treatment every day.
So, if we are to agree that the most of the critical information that a physician will use to identify an ailment comes from them asking the right questions, in the right sequence, and then taking the answers and plugging them into a complex diagnostic paradigm in their minds, then why does the care of the acutely ill or injured cost so much? And how can we realize substantial cost savings while simultaneously driving care forward, with better outcomes and healthier patients? We believe that this is possible and we are prepared to prove it.