It’s always more complicated – but so what?

As a college student I thought medicine is just a vast combination of facts, then medical school taught me that it was more complicated.

In medical school I thought that radiology is just about pattern recognition, then residency taught me that it was more complicated.

In residency I thought that the health care crisis is just a problem of not enough money, then business school taught me that it was more complicated.

In business school I thought that informatics is just about customizing to user needs, then working on a project taught me that it was more complicated.

But after being wrong so many times, I find myself continue to simplify complex concepts in my head. Maybe we’re built to do that. If I knew how complex medicine is, I may have gone into another field.  If I knew how difficult radiology is, I may have applied into another specialty.  If I knew the full complexity of healthcare informatics, I may have waited years before launching into a project.

Maybe it’s how society moves forward – by foolhardy people acting on oversimplified versions of the world.  Although the person who jumped in without understanding the complexity of the world might frequently fail, the person who held back would always fail no matter how much complexity he appreciates.

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Howard Chen
Vice Chair for Artificial Intelligence at Cleveland Clinic Diagnostics Institute
Howard is passionate about making diagnostic tests more accurate, expedient, and affordable through disciplined implementation of advanced technology. He previously served as Chief Informatics Officer for Imaging, where he led teams deploying and unifying radiology applications and AI in a multi-state, multi-hospital environment. Blog opinions are his own and in no way reflect those of the employer.

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