26_Nabil Moukheibir

Diagnose the Future

It's hard to find the right cure if you make the wrong diagnosis. Connectance's software, called Consultations in Nephrology, helps physicians diagnose 113 kidney-related diseases. Nabil Moukheibir's prescription: "Leverage technology to reduce medical mistakes."

Nabil Moukheibir
Founder, Connectance Inc.
Washington, DC
http://www.connectance.com

FROM NABIL'S ORIGINAL ENTRY:

What's the Big Idea?
Nabil Moukheibir helps doctors do the right thing, all the time. He has created a computerized diagnostic tool that assists physicians in diagnosing 113 kidney-related diseases. So what? He hopes to reduce medical errors by leveraging technology to help doctors in the deductive reasoning process that is fundamental to the art and science of medicine. The program is easy to use. All the doctor has to do is input the patient's history and symptoms into the computer. Later, the physician will simply have to dictate the findings, and then wait a few seconds to get three differential diagnoses. So the software program scans and understands the doctor's notes and then arrives at a tentative diagnosis. The diagnoses are ranked by a similarity index. The higher the similarity index, the higher the correlation with the correct diagnosis.

The program is a kind of tech-savvy curbside consultant. Says Moukheibir: "The physician is always in charge. This system only acts as an obedient consultant to optimize efficiency." Moukheibir hopes to make the majority of the program Internet-based. The idea is that doctors anywhere in the world will be able to "call in" for a consultation on a case-by-case basis.

What was your creative spark?
Seeing one too many patients too late. I have been a nephrologist for 25 years, and I have seen a lot of misdiagnoses and wrong treatments in my time. As a specialist on kidney-related diseases, I was so frustrated by the lethargy of general physicians to call for help sooner. By the time I saw the patient we had already lost precious time and significant number of tests had been either unnecessarily done or missed. Something had to change.

Why is your idea so compelling?
This isn't cookbook medicine. There is an obvious need for a computerized diagnostic tool that helps doctors arrive at a high-quality decision fast. Doctors are operating in an information glut. There's no way to keep up with the latest news on diseases and treatments. More to the point, approximately 44,000 and perhaps as many as 98,000 hospitalized Americans die every year from medical errors of different varieties, according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.

Moukheibir's plan is to build more software consultation programs so that doctors can easily diagnose dozens of other diseases. He plans to release the second version of the nephrology consultation software later this year. His most urgent challenge? To garner enough funding and to convince enough doctors that his approach is the right approach.

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