Theranos has emerged as a cautionary tale in digital health. The darling of modern diagnostics, it turns out that things aren’t what they seem.
Of course, Elizabeth Holmes was just trying to make a buck. That’s her job. But let’s talk about the people who should have been asking the hard questions.
The real story is about the media that built Theranos. On the way up reputable journalists sold us with their authority. And after drawing eyeballs and ad dollars, they’re now cashing in on the way down. As experts on both sides of the story, they seem to be twice as smart only after one journalist did his job. It’s hard to watch
Is there any accountability to the consuming public?
Almost worse than the journalists who failed the public are the legions of stay-at-home digital health evangelists who blindly parrot anything shiny that floats in their stream. Beyond building their own micro-authority, their noise about Theranos did its own part to create the crisis. This should give us pause about what we share and promote as individuals.
The media buzz machine has an accountability problem that’s conveniently getting little coverage. Perhaps we should hold the media to the same standard as Elizabeth Holmes. What would it look like to put the journalists who pushed Theranos in the spotlight and find out who knew what when?
Image via Big Ed Mustapha/Flickr