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The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Chapter 11Big Data

What would life be without arithmetic, but a scene of horrors?

—Rev. Sidney Smith, 1835

On a sultry afternoon in the summer of 2014, I visited the Washington, DC office of Karen DeSalvo, the new director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). DeSalvo, an internist and the former commissioner of health for New Orleans, had a full agenda as she tried to reposition the ONC for the post–Daddy Warbucks era (the last of the 30 billion HITECH dollars were doled out in late 2014), as well as navigate the swirling controversies over Meaningful Use, interoperability, usability, and more. After we discussed these weighty topics, she pivoted the conversation; she wanted to talk about underwear. ...

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