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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 24Epic and athena

Eschew the monumental. Shun the Epic. All the guys who can paint great big pictures can paint great small ones.

—Ernest Hemingway, in 1932

On a cool day in Verona, Wisconsin, in September 2014, the town’s population had a bimodal distribution of a type well known on autumn Saturdays in small midwestern college towns with powerhouse football teams. But Verona has no college, and no football team. While the 12,000 residents of Verona went about their business, another 12,000 out-of-town visitors packed the “Deep Space” auditorium on the 811-acre “Intergalactic Headquarters” of the town’s dominant employer, Epic.

Like a slightly cheesy version of the glitzy users’ meetings thrown by Apple and Salesforce, the visitors—all ...

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