Sunday, June 29, 2008

Biomedicine in the Post-Information Age: 5

This is part five of a multi-part blog on biomedicine in the post-information age.

As the prior blogs in this series emphasized, the distinctive feature of the post-information age is that everyone has personal access to compuational power, communications, and information. In the post-information age, individuals will use these empowering tools to be innovative and productive, without being employed by bricks-and-mortar institutions.

Who gets to be a player in the post-information age?

In the U.S., the lingering impediment to being a solo information expert is medical insurance. Here, health insurance coverage is something that is usually received through employment. Individuals who are not part of an empoyer's group can be denied health insurance by the insurance agencies, for almost any reason. Because medical care is extravagantly expensive in the U.S., it is very important to have a health insurance provider. Many people hold onto unrewarding jobs, just for the available health insurance (for themselves and their families).

It's really an enormous waste of potential talent, because many of the opportunities for innovation are best accomplished by small groups of experts (maybe 1, 2 or 3 people) who might be geographically dispersed. Contries that guarantee health care to their citizens (e.g., the EU), will have an enormous advantage in the new post-information age.

- Copyright (C) 2008 Jules J. Berman

key words: biomedical informatics, medical informatics, health coverage, health insurance, medical insurance
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