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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Has the Internet Raised or Lowered Healthcare Costs?

The next trip to see the company doctor my be by computer. Today's post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from www.motherjones.com


Matt Yglesias writes about the awesome power of information technology to diagnose illnesses and save a trip to the doctor:
I was having a kind of weird problem with my left thumb over the course of the past few days....Finally I figured out that it looked to me like an infection of the cuticle....That brought me to a Wikipedia page...."paronychia"....led to a bit more Googling....typically happens to habitual fingernail biters (guilty) or people who've recently been in the water a lot (swimming pool on vacation).
Everyone basically agrees that this isn't a huge deal and that you can obtain some physical relief by occasionally soaking the thumb in hot water while waiting for it to clear up. I took that advice starting yesterday morning, and today I feel a lot better....So there we have it. In a small but real way, information technology reduced the cost of this particular health care service. Productivity for the win.
Obviously there are lots of things we aren't going to treat in this way, but I'm quite optimistic that information technology in the health care sector is going to do us a lot of good.
Obviously Matt is being a bit tongue-in-cheek here even as he makes a serious point. But I'd still like to know if his serious point is actually correct. Not about information technology in general—everyone knows how I feel about the future of robots—but about the effect of the internet on healthcare costs.

On the one hand, we have success stories like Matt's: The...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.