Five reasons why Primary Care Physicians might get replaced by computers

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Computers are getting smarter, better, and more personable, there’s no doubt about it.  Will there ever come a time, however, when computers get so good at human interaction that even the highest-skilled in the work force — primary care physicians (PCPs) — go the way of the travel agent?

I began wondering this a few months ago after listening to Dr. Martin Kohn, a physician who works at IBM Research and works on integrating the Watson supercomputer (of Jeopardy! fame) in healthcare.  He spoke about computer technology changes, their history, and their integration with healthcare.

Could computers be the biggest disruptors of healthcare delivery (and my career as primary care physician)?  Here are five reason why, one day, primary care physicians could possibly be replaced by computer…

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Unanswered Questions of ACA Implementation

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In just a week, I start my new position as Medical Director of Near North Health, a network of federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) with a 40-plus-year track record of providing comprehensive primary care services to historically marginalized communities throughout Chicago.

I’m especially excited to be doing so now, just months before full Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, and just days after the third anniversary of its passage. Come January 2014, numerous changes will affect health delivery and payment; innovations in patient centered medical homes (PCMH) and graduate medical education (GME, aka residencies); regulations and quality mandates. A great time to be at the forefront of health care leadership!

Serving on the Board of Directors for one of the largest professional medical organizations in the nation (the American Academy of Family Physicians), in addition to my role with Doctors Council SEIU, I’ve had the privilege to meet with, listen to, and learn from the brightest and most engaged people in health care. And I’m always surprised: whether it’s physician leaders or those at the top of the federal health agencies, no one quite knows what things will look like next year.

Below are just two vital questions, amongst many others, that burn through my mind; that keep me awake at night when I think of the challenges ahead; the unanswered questions of ACA implementation that I don’t hear spoken of enough (or at all). If you have answers (or speculation), please feel free to comment!
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