I love the GPS analogy for health care. Patients need a GPS for their health, showing them the reality of their past, present, and future health. The analogy has not only shown me how I want to give care for my patients, it has also given me insight into the pitfalls of automated medical care.
Way back in the days when GPS was new, the rental care company Hertz advertised “NeverLost,” a GPS on your dashboard (if you forked out the extra money for it). I was asked to give a talk in Oregon, and decided I would try out this cool new technology (since others were picking up my bill). While I found it overall very useful, there were a couple of times it didn’t work as advertised.
- I needed a sweatshirt, so I used the NeverLost for directions to a Wal-Mart. It worked! It gave me flawless directions to a Wal-Mart store…in Las Vegas (over 1000 miles away). I stopped at a gas station and they told me that there was actually a Wal-Mart 1/2 mile down the road.
- Then, when I was trying to get to Crater Lake, “Never Lost” repeatedly directed me down dirt roads, some of which had trees fallen across their path. NeverLost was quite perturbed when I didn’t follow its direction, nagging me to make an immediate u-turn back toward the tree in the road.