Mysterious New Novell Computer Algorithm Can Predict Risk of Serious Injuries in Vehicle Crashes…Right?


Important information on a motor vehicle crash can help ambulance personnel and hospital staff better direct crash victims to the most appropriate care but, getting that information into a meaningful format for those personnel to use has been an ongoing challenge. Recently, a team of bio-mechanical specialists and clinicians at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, developed a computer algorithm that’s capable of providing that information through a novel method using data from electronic data recorders (EDRs) on board cars and trucks today.

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According to certain research, a computer is now able to determine severity of potential injury based on electronic data received from onboard systems. Seems noble and of great use, right? Interestingly, this level of incident outcome and quick clinical assessment has been attempted before with very questionable results. Programs of similar capacities go under various names and acronyms. The case for its use is to assist the clinician, hospital and emergency staff to route cases to the appropriate clinical interventional sites. This may seem like a good idea and I am sure there are merits to the software and this new data, however, I caution that this information may be used to determine extent of injury for individuals based on cold calculations beyond the clinical scope. Worse, there may be non-clinical directives behind the development of such data. The data should remain clinical, and of noble purposes. Clinicians must spearhead the applications of this type of data system and keep it in perspective. In the past, the insurance industry under the ruse of information procurement have spun the data for its primary gain. I repeat, they heavy handedly distill such data and interpret it for its primary benefit. They have done it before and may do it again. Hint.. Hint…

Why do I say that? Even more cynical and calculating, they employ physicians or “hired henchmen” that blanket themselves with this new data interpretation as the leading truth on clinical assessments for their crafty purposes. Don’t get me wrong, if the data was to remain clinical and used for the purpose that it is reported to be for, all would be good. However, in my 25 years of practice working with auto accident victims, it appears they may get behind this as their new mouse trap to back their plight. That is, if data was allowed to be spun their way.

Physician and clinicians alike, I believe must use these big data technologies to better the art of medicine. That is the honorable thing to do. How this new toy is rolled out will be of interest to many. Time will tell.

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