Cybermedicine: How Computers Empower Doctors and Patients for Better Health Care

Overview

Cybermedicine presents a compelling argument for the use of computers for initial diagnosis and assessment, for crucial decisions in the course of treatment, and for self-care, research, prevention, and - above all - patient empowerment. Cybermedicine is filled with real-life examples from patients, practitioners, and health care institutions and offers convincing evidence that computers can provide doctors with an invaluable extension of their clinical resources as well as the means for transferring more control...
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Overview

Cybermedicine presents a compelling argument for the use of computers for initial diagnosis and assessment, for crucial decisions in the course of treatment, and for self-care, research, prevention, and - above all - patient empowerment. Cybermedicine is filled with real-life examples from patients, practitioners, and health care institutions and offers convincing evidence that computers can provide doctors with an invaluable extension of their clinical resources as well as the means for transferring more control to the patient. And ultimately, Slack shows that the computer has been a humanizing influence in the practice of medicine.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Thomas L. Lincoln
Dr. Slack's memoir, Cybermedicine, is a personal Odyssey by a patient-oriented clinician and medical informatician with 40 years of well-documented experience in the belly of the computer. In each chapter (which is a chapter in his own life) he considers the question: ""If technology is always potentially a knife that cuts both ways, how does one use computing to healthcare's benefit?"" It is very suitable reading on an airplane, or in other venues where interruptions are of little importance -- perhaps on call on a slow night. It is written to reach many people, but should not put off the professional. (Like ""Hospital"" with George Scott, this book can be appreciated by insiders and outsiders alike.) It is particularly relevant to the age of HMOs. In 11 chapters and an epilogue he examines from as many points of view the often flawed relationships among patient, caregiver, and the information that binds them in an increasingly automated information age in order to examine the whole dilemma. Realistic in his assessments, careful in his analyses, he remains the idealist throughout. A foreword by Ralph Nader advises that one skip first to the epilogue to get the sense of where Dr. Slack's thoughts lead. One might then skip to page 168 to appreciate his abiding vision of the future: caring, distributed medicine with the ancient role of the hospital as temple and the physician as high-priest much reduced. The chapters emphasize what he has accomplished or contributed along the way -- from early computer patient dialogues on a LINC computer at the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s, to the ambitiously effective and nearly all-pervasive clinical system atBeth Israel in Boston for which he is in good measure responsible. At the end of this journey, there is reason to believe that his experience will be generalized and widely implemented elsewhere on new platforms and in new languages. However, missing from his ""patient as consumer"" perspective (and commonly missing in modern healthcare advocacy) is the distinction between the patient as consumer of care resources and the patient as investor of his or her own person in an often uncertain result. From the patient perspective, one does not ""consume"" a hip replacement or an organ transplant, just as one does not consume a new roof on one's house. Moreover, such investments are generally reluctant ones, in which the timing cannot usually be chosen. If these are the dramatic examples, investment is almost always a component in anything but the simplest patient compliance. One can forgive this omission, just as one can forgive the fact that his argument is not a novel one. This is not a cry in the wilderness. Others like Dr. Slack have been singing a similar tune for a long time, but he does it so well, with such humor, personal insight, and honesty, that there is wisdom here.
From The Critics
Reviewer:Thomas L. Lincoln, MD (RAND)
Description:Dr. Slack's memoir, Cybermedicine, is a personal Odyssey by a patient-oriented clinician and medical informatician with 40 years of well-documented experience in the belly of the computer.
Purpose:In each chapter (which is a chapter in his own life) he considers the question: "If technology is always potentially a knife that cuts both ways, how does one use computing to healthcare's benefit?" It is very suitable reading on an airplane, or in other venues where interruptions are of little importance — perhaps on call on a slow night.
Audience:It is written to reach many people, but should not put off the professional. (Like "Hospital" with George Scott, this book can be appreciated by insiders and outsiders alike.) It is particularly relevant to the age of HMOs.
Features:In 11 chapters and an epilogue he examines from as many points of view the often flawed relationships among patient, caregiver, and the information that binds them in an increasingly automated information age in order to examine the whole dilemma. Realistic in his assessments, careful in his analyses, he remains the idealist throughout. A foreword by Ralph Nader advises that one skip first to the epilogue to get the sense of where Dr. Slack's thoughts lead. One might then skip to page 168 to appreciate his abiding vision of the future: caring, distributed medicine with the ancient role of the hospital as temple and the physician as high-priest much reduced. The chapters emphasize what he has accomplished or contributed along the way — from earlycomputer patient dialogues on a LINC computer at the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s, to the ambitiously effective and nearly all-pervasive clinical system at Beth Israel in Boston for which he is in good measure responsible. At the end of this journey, there is reason to believe that his experience will be generalized and widely implemented elsewhere on new platforms and in new languages. However, missing from his "patient as consumer" perspective (and commonly missing in modern healthcare advocacy) is the distinction between the patient as consumer of care resources and the patient as investor of his or her own person in an often uncertain result. From the patient perspective, one does not "consume" a hip replacement or an organ transplant, just as one does not consume a new roof on one's house. Moreover, such investments are generally reluctant ones, in which the timing cannot usually be chosen. If these are the dramatic examples, investment is almost always a component in anything but the simplest patient compliance. One can forgive this omission, just as one can forgive the fact that his argument is not a novel one.
Assessment:This is not a cry in the wilderness. Others like Dr. Slack have been singing a similar tune for a long time, but he does it so well, with such humor, personal insight, and honesty, that there is wisdom here.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787903435
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 Providing Information to Patients 3
2 The First Patient-Computer Dialogue 13
3 The Computer as a Patient's Assistant 29
4 The Computer in Psychotherapy 45
5 The Patient On-Line 67
6 Computing for the Hospital 81
7 Computing for the Clinician 99
8 The Clinician On-Line 111
9 Confidentiality 129
10 Barriers to Clinical Computing 147
11 What Can Be Done 165
Epilogue 171
Bibliography and Further Reading 183
About the Author 207
Index 209
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