Law in the Internet Society

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NigelMustaphaSecondPaper 4 - 04 Jan 2015 - Main.EbenMoglen
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An Initial Diagnosis

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 It is unsurprising that stakeholders in medical websites have suggested expanding the use of those sites. Similarly, it is unsurprising that major technology developers have seen the potential inherent in streamlining the delivery of online medical information to internet users. Yet while a variety of other players have begun to make use of the online medical information community, healthcare providers have been slow to join the fray. Perhaps this too is unsurprising; like other professionals, doctors as a group often lack technological expertise and tend to err towards the traditional in their conception of patient relationships. But for a profession where a duty to provide the best available care is owed, that does not make an apathetic approach to new solutions excusable. Too many doctors believe that the optimal function of the internet is simply to give healthcare providers access to new information, or to allow doctors to e-mail patients their test results. These doctors apparently do not see the internet’s vast potential to provide genuine patient education and more. Or alternatively, they lack the initiative to take ownership of the online medical information community and thereby transform it into an eminently useful treatment platform. So long as the internet’s potential goes untapped, these doctors will continue to see their jobs become more difficult and their patient relationships grow more strained as they skirt the boundary of violating their Hippocratic oaths.

Through this point, my primary response to the draft was that it fell into two segments, imperfectly coordinated. In the first, the use of the medical information flow in the net by the pharmaceutical molecule merchants is the subject. They have the wealth to buy up the new media, as they bought up the old ones, leading to the television-advertising nightmare in the US, for example. In the second, the relative passivity of the physicians in using medical education to improve treatment of their own patients is described. The connection between the first and second, however, which has to do with the overall capture of delivery by pharma and the reduction of physicians to pill pushers on the clock, is not described.


A Second Opinion

A generation ago, your local lawyer also had it relatively easy. For the most part, a few know-it-alls aside, his clients would pretty much trust him and listen to his advice. After all, he was a professional and they weren’t. He knew the rules of how the legal system worked and they didn’t. So when he applied those rules, they listened to him and deferred to his professional discretion. That was the old relationship. Like the doctor in the digital age, the lawyer in the digital age has to acknowledge that his profession has changed: among other things, his client relationships begin from a new default position, his professional opinion means something different than it used to, and as a result, the use of technology will be pivotal to both the efficacy of his practice and the satisfaction of his ethical obligations.


The changing social structure and behavior of the health care system of the US, as we moved from small-businessmen-doctors and a rich but subservient pharma, to a managed care universe in which doctors are employees on the clock and pharma owns more than anyone else, are the implicit subject of part one. This brief part two deals with a profession differently organized and therefore differently affected by the changes we are considering.

So my overall response to the draft is that it tries to do too much in 1,000 words, and would do a far better job of less. Less would also be capable of trenchant and brief statement at the outset, involving the presentation of a single new idea to the reader, who could then follow its development through the line of the essay, which is not, as I have tried to show, very easy now.

 -- NigelMustapha - 30 Nov 2014 \ No newline at end of file

Revision 4r4 - 04 Jan 2015 - 18:57:23 - EbenMoglen
Revision 3r3 - 01 Dec 2014 - 19:13:58 - NigelMustapha
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