In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that Millennium Health, the nation’s largest drug-testing laboratory, is negotiating a settlement of approximately $250 million over allegations that it billed the federal government for unnecessary tests, which included charging for “high-tech” tests meant to confirm the findings of cheaper, “simple” drug screenings even when those screenings produced normal results. The article focuses on the benefits and drawbacks of changing the Medicare payment system to discourage over-utilizing high-tech tests, and in doing so it overlooks a vital point: there is no reliable simple method for comprehensive drug monitoring. High-tech is the only option.
This blog is about automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and their role in laboratories and health care. There are some pretty big ideas behind that goal. Until recently, machines have only been able to replace human muscle. I am interested in how they can augment human brains (“replace” is another big open question). The rate at which technology is advancing is making it very hard to predict what will happen next. That does not stop people from trying: