Friday, October 16, 2009

Electronic records have already provided one big change. eRecords in the US

The debate over health care reform is proving to be a no-holds barred battle but, as New York Times' David Pogue reports, electronic records have already provided one big change.

Actor Dennis Quaid ("I'm not really a doctor. I don't even play one on TV!") is a believer that computerized health systems save lives.

In 2007, his newborn twins were victims of a terrible medical mistake.

"About a week after we brought them home from the hospital, they started to develop what turned out to be a staph infection," he said. "They were supposed to receive a 10-unit dose of heparin. And the nurse had the wrong bottle and gave them a 10,000 unit dose each of the drug. And they were in real danger of dying." 

Watch thisCBS video.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unlearning. A book by Dr. Alejandro R. Jadad

Reposted from Monday, October 13, 2008

Dr. Alejandro R. Jadad writes:
"I just published my first non-medical book, entitled "Unlearning", which I am using to explore the impact of combining online publishing, social networking and the notion of "Freeconomics".

The book can be downloaded for free or purchased at:

I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share it with anyone you think might find this interesting.


Here is an excerpt:
I still remember my maternal grandfather quoting
[Benjamin] Franklin’s words:

“For Life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points
to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in
which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in
some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it.”

Many years later, when I was in my late teens and already
a medical student, my grandfather’s image and Franklin’s
words came to me suddenly, while I was playing as the
captain and goalkeeper of my university in-door soccer team.
I could see the entire field from under the goalposts and was
shouting instructions to my teammates. I suddenly felt like
the King on a Chessboard, being the target of the opposing
team, unable to move from my box and hoping that my
teammates would follow my commands. I also realized that, at
the same time, in my life outside the pitch, I was a
dispensable pawn at the hospital where I was training as an
intern, with little control over my future. It was my superiors,
not me, who would decide where and when I would work, and
what role I would play in the war against diseases. I replayed
the words from Franklin’s essay and realized that I could
easily replace the word Chess for game, making his
statements even more prescient:

“Life is a kind of game, in which we have points to gain,
and competitors or adversaries to contend with, in which there
is a variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the
effects of prudence or the want of it”.

At that moment, feeling like a piece on a board, I started
to suspect that not just Chess, but all games in general, are
much more than enactments of life. They may be signaling to
us, constantly, that life itself is a game.

This thought set me on a path that proved to be much
more challenging and exciting than I could have ever

Perhaps, I wondered, by looking at the nature and
structure of games, I could gain valuable insights about my
own life and how to live it.