Today is my 52nd birthday, an unpleasant reminder that at some point in the (nearer) future I can expect to become more reliant on the medical profession.
If we consider doctors as information processing systems (data in, diagnosis out), how are they improving compared to other information processing systems? “Medicine’s Uncomfortable Relationship With Math,” a 2014 paper from JAMA Internal Medicine shows no improvement over the past 30 years. 75 percent of the docs surveyed couldn’t figure out how to use data from a test for a rare condition: “Of 61 respondents, 14 provided the correct answer of 2% [likelihood that a patient was actually suffering from the condition, based on having tested positive]. The most common answer was 95%, provided by 27 of 61 respondents. The median answer was 66%, which is 33 times larger than the true answer.”