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If batches had human rights: Telemedicine Part 1 - Measure now

I read that a doctor is promoting the same idea as Electronic Batch Processing ... only for people: let everyone connect to a health care provider electronically. OK to use a phone, but add data. Sound familiar?

The other day (“Batch Processing, Baseball and Baloney”, July 5, 2017) I mentioned that physicists don’t recognize artificial boundaries; to us the world is a continuous, holistic mechanism. Here we go again. A wonderful Wall Street Journal public policy article, “The Smart Medicine Solution to the Health Care Crisis” written by Dr. Eric Topol, emerged from the pile of papers on my desk the other day. It appeared like Hawaii out of the Pacific, complete with enchanted Tiki Room bird calls, urging me to read it … now. (No one said, physicists can’t stretch a metaphor to the snapping point.)

Let me quote him, directly:

"In the era of telemedicine consults, there is no reason to wait weeks for an appointment. For the same copay as an office visit, connection with a doctor can occur instantly or within minutes. With increasing use of patient-generated data from sensors and physical exam hardware that connects with a smartphone, the video chats of today will soon be enriched by extensive data transfer."

Wow. Who’d have ever thought of such thing? Imagine: making measurements on dynamic physical systems (human bodies, or at least parts thereof, in this case) and using a TripSaver-like technology to enable remote viewing by an expert. And not just viewing, but receiving information-rich details about that physical system. Let me say right here, right now, that I am all for it. Why take the time to travel, why sit in traffic and in crowded, germy waiting rooms? Just whip out your smart phone while watching TV or even - and this gets far-out - sitting in your own office. Just do what needs to be done, whenever it makes sense to do.

This got me thinking, why favor humans only? What about animals? Here’s a bullseye for the animal rights advocates. If you and I can be wired into the doctor, why not Fido or Smokey or Elsie, too?

Now’s when I got really po-lit-i-cal. Controversial. But, hey, under cover as a physicist with no boundaries, I ask …

What about process batches? Don’t these have rights too? Admittedly, they are not living, sentient creatures. But their health and well-being is intimately connected with the financial health and well-being of sentient creatures: factory owners and folks like that.

It seems only fair to me that batches deserve the same kind of treatment that people (and animals) are entitled to. Fortunately, this aspiration can be met and realized today. Batches can be monitored with BatchCom. Hey, they can even be operated on with DART! And when the time comes to talk about them with remotely located experts … it’s good to know TripSaver is there.

Viva equal rights. Long Live the Batches (but not inside their tanks!).

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