(image from https://otralogistics.com/freight-services/long-haul-trucking/)
A few years ago, I remember hearing that the “information revolution” has transformed all major industries in the US except for Medicine and Long Haul Trucking. But then, he said, “Long Haul Trucking is making its move!”
I asked one of my patients about this, a few years ago, and he described to me, how, in the “bad old days” as an independent contractor, he would haul a load from Denver to Chicago, drop off, go to the truck stop, and start asking around for anyone who could give him a lead on a load to go back to Denver, and it would often be hours or a day or so of detective work.
“Now,” he said, “I drop off, I go to the truck stop — the all have free wifi — I pull up a centralized database, search for Denver destination, and BOOM, I have a list of phone numbers to call to sign up for a load, have just enough time for lunch, and then I’m off.”
Indeed, it seemed that Medicine was on its own, the last holdout from the Information Revolution, with Long Haul Trucking leaving us in the dust.
Well, that was years ago, and we’ve since seen Meaningful Use, a tsunami of Digital Health startups, the rise of Predictive Analytics for healthcare, machine learning algorithms, and self-driving cars. We are fully into the information revolution in healthcare, with the expected backlash of Physician Burnout, and existential questions of how Computers and Doctors and Patients could possibly ever get along (more on this another time).
Meantime, Long Haul Trucking seems set for its next possible disruption: self-driving trucks. With over 3 million truck drivers in the US, is this a mass-extinction event? Mass unemployment?
Self-driving trucks at a mine in Australia:
Former Google(rs) are part of startup called OTTO, now part of UBER:
And this great blog “Self-Driving Trucks are Going to Hit us Like a Human-Driven Truck”
And, what does this next step mean for Medicine? Is IBM Watson (or some quiet future competitor) our OTTO event? Perpend.