Someone else who doesn’t drink Kool Aid

Someone else who doesn’t drink Kool Aid

I’m sick of reading all the glowing articles (for example here, and here) about using Google for diagnosis. Fact is, it’s not a great idea, as I’ve written (Stupid pet tricks, aka Google diagnosing). So I was glad to see a letter to Modern Healthcare by Joseph Britto, MD, CEO of Isabel Healthcare (a decision support company) entitled “Google inadequate for diagnoses.

While the idea of using Google as an ersatz clinical decision support system is clever, a 58% accuracy rate is unacceptable — in either a human clinician or a software program. Google, of course, was not designed for this purpose…

Older-generation diagnosis decision software systems have much higher accuracy rates. In addition, the latest generation of diagnosis reminder systems…consistently suggest the proper diagnosis 90% of the time. These new programs use advanced natural-language processing algorithms — a newer, more powerful search technique — to scan a specific database of medical journals and texts. This produces more accurate, higher-quality search results.

November 15, 2006

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