Game Theory Making Healthcare Better…Since 2004

To quote a cliché, “there’s somebody for everybody,” so that must mean there’s a kidney for everybody too, right?  Forgive all the creative writing rules I’m breaking by starting with a cliché, but when you read this article, you might understand why I felt compelled.   Roth, the 2012 Nobel Prize winner has created a dating site, used loosely, to match people with the kidneys.  Those in need of a new kidney can spend years playing a waiting game for the perfect donor match to come along—with Roth’s work that wait can be a little shorter.

So how did he do it?  Oddly enough, Roth is an Economist—a man after my own heart—so when he set out to turn his social science experience (a complex computer algorithm) into a tactical way to save lives, everyone was a little surprised.  The Game Theory, stay with me, is a logical decision making theory applied to a variety of sciences and that Roth has now applied to technology and healthcare to essentially create a dating game for patients and donors.

He created a central network that interacts with other donor systems to figure out who’s waiting, who’s donating and if there’s potential for a match—then there’s a “swap.”  It seems so obvious, doesn’t it?  With the new technology of EHRs and RCM systems available today that connect everything with everyone and can match people to people why shouldn’t we be able to match kidneys…crazy idea—glad somebody thought of it.

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