How the digital age has changed our experience with death…(3 benefits)

Online Forums for CommunityThe digital age has brought many new adaptations to the way humans experience the world, one powerful shift is how this era has reshaped death in our society. While there are varying views on the pros and cons of this shift, we are going to touch on three benefits technology welcomed into the death space:

  1. A Community to Connect With: While this point remains subjective to individual preference, the internet has created a meaningful space for like-minded individuals to gather and grow. From sharing stories, gaining knowledge, finding synergy and embracing compassion from others around the world, the internet has given solace to many who find grieving and connecting in this way beneficial. Terminal illness blogs, hospice and palliative care forums, grief podcasts, caregiver communities and bereavement Facebook groups are all powerful spaces where people that are open to it, can grieve, discuss and let go in a safe, communal environment from anywhere and with anyone.
  2. Online Death Planning: The digital era has brought simplicity and efficiency to the often disgruntling task of planning for our own demise. Now instead of spending hours writing out a will and figuring out your advance directive on someone else’s time, there are a growing number of online estate, financial and funeral planning tools that allow you to work on this from your own home. While many people still prefer to sit down with an expert in person, the digital age makes these tools available to those who either couldn’t afford or were too unbothered to take care of these important decisions before.
  3. A Death Positive Movement: While we often don’t care to admit it, we are all mortal. But many of us as humans choose to ignore this ever present fact. The digital era opens up new ways to educate, communicate and familiarize people with death. This death-positive movement is slowly gaining traction in the deep depths of the internet and will hopefully allow us to begin to talk openly and honestly about this vital topic.
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Google may be more accurate at predicting when a patient is going to die than doctors and current hospital warning systems. Their ‘Medical Brain’ Team is masterfully helping Google break into the health-care sphere. They have begun training their AI system to assess the risk of death in hospital patients by reviewing 175,639 data points present in patient’s electronic medical records. Not only does their system assess current medical records (lab results, vital signs etc.) and dig up information about age, ethnicity, can also decipher and interpret buried away handwritten notes on charts or information scribbled away on PDFs. “In general, prior work has focused on a subset of features available in the EHR [Electronic Health Record], rather than on all data available in an EHR, which includes clinical free-text notes, as well as large amounts of structured and semi-structured data.” - Google’s team One major case study highlighting the (morbid) success of Google’s system involves a woman with metastatic breast cancer. 24 hours after her admission Google gave the woman a 19.9% chance of dying in the hospital, whereas the hospital’s augmented Early Warning Score estimated only a 9.3 chance. Less than two weeks later the woman passed away in the hospital. As a whole, Google has analyzed 216,221 hospitalizations and 114,003 patients - giving them over 46 billion data points from their electronic health records. While Google’s algorithm is not perfect, it appears to predict when you will die with up to 95% accuracy (as compared to roughly 85% accuracy from current hospital Early Warning Scores). Less grim than predicting death, Google’s AI can also forecast many other patient outcomes including how long people may stay in the hospital and their odds of readmission. The ability to possibly smooth out the process of entering data and improve how that data is used could cut down human error in medical care and greatly improve patient care. To read Google’s paper published in Nature, click here To read the in depth Bloomberg article on the subject, click here
Google’s AI Can Now Predict Death With 95% Accuracy

Google may be more accurate at predicting when a patient is going to die than doctors and current hospital warning...