Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Doctoring is a Doomed Profession

Although medical doctors have quite a large amount of power in our economy, I believe that their bargaining power is being diminished by technological innovations and managerial restructuring. Robin Hanson's idea of negative health care would significantly raise the prestige of massage and personal training at the cost of doctors.

Jason I. Altman predicts: "By 2030 all surgical anesthesia will be administered and monitored by computers, with no need for professional medical supervision beyond the surgeon." Even sooner than that we are likely to see outsourcing of surgery, as robots controlled from the next room are replaced by robots controlled from India.

Its only a matter of time until large, centrally-controlled and ineffecient hospitals are replaced by "the Trader Joes of healthcare", a business model that goes straight from the drug companies to the client, and "cuts out the middleman" who in this case is none other than the good Doctor.

DNA screening is the wave of the future. Ever seen GATTACA? You can currently buy limited DNA tests that will soon be cheaper than a doctor's visit to tell you everything from whether your kids are likely to have Crutzfield-Jacobson disease to what your life expectancy is based on genetic markers for cardiac disease.

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