Sept. 13, 2007 SDF Digital Doctor Diagnosis

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On September 13, 2007 at the Pillsbury Winthrop Palo Alto headquarters SDForum’s Emerging Technology SIG hosted an event about the fast and accurate diagnosis of disease. Rick Beberman, COO of Connectance introduced Dr. Nabil W. Moukheibir, Founder and CEO.

Dr. Moukheibir earned his degree at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and completed his fellowship at the University of Iowa to specialize in nephrology. He started the Kingsport Dialysis Center, in Kingsport, Tennessee to treat end-stage renal disease patients before selling it to Vivra in 1988.

Inspired by Norbert Wiener’s studies through his seminal book on “Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine” he developed interest in medical informatics, cognitive sciences, linguistics, and the visual arts. He wanted to create a system to make the large body of medical texts not only available but also reactive to doctors trying to make a diagnosis.

Unlike the TV show “House” starring Hugh Laurie, most nurses and doctors in emergency rooms do not have the time or resources to diagnose exotic diseases. They are trained to look for the obvious. When they hear hoof beats, they are taught to think of horses and not zebras. In general, the chance of a patient misdiagnosis could be as high as 40%. Variables such as the experience of the health care professional, the history of the patient and resources available to treat the disease play significant roles.

Dr. Moukheibir’s founded Connectance to build diagnostic decision support software. Connectance has a subscription-based business model using pattern recognition software to help make a fast and accurate diagnosis. The system creates diagnostic maps for each disease and compares it with the information a doctor has available. If it matches, then an accurate diagnosis is made. Starting with his specialty of nephrology, he is expanding to gastronomy and neurology.

Dr. Moukheibir’s hopes the most experienced doctors will map diagnostic strategies for a whole range of diseases. Their experience would be digitized and in a way immortalized as it helps to extend the lives of millions of people.

A working system would help not only in emergency rooms but also in battlefield or other remote situations. Of course, there is also the potential that insurance companies would use it to second-guess a doctor’s diagnosis. There is also the possibility that lawyers would use it in medical malpractice cases. It is a diagnostic tool, not a replacement for doctors.

Also attending were John Delancey, Michael Emens, Ardy Forouhar, and Kiran Kamboj.

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Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.