Physicians Still ‘Press the Buttons’ of Healthcare Technology

This is an important concept for me, being an architect for a healthcare information technology company. I think it’s vitally important for healthcare consumers as well to know that in many ways, their doctors are incredibly influential in driving the technologies that allow them to deliver healthcare. While I’m not going to get overly political, this is one thing that I am quite passionate about, given that I have many family members who are doctors, and I’ve seen firsthand the changes in the delivery in healthcare over the years. The loss of autonomy and the costs of healthcare playing heavily into the quality of its delivery are the two main reasons that I decided not to follow in the family tradition and go into medicine. There’s got to be a better way to get doctors back to being doctors. I see mobility, BYO, and other similar innovative trends that are seeing doctors as the drivers for determining how they want to practice medicine, and how they want to use technology to do it. Doctors fortunately have been very vocal and steadfast in what they’re pushing from a technology perspective. Try taking an iPad away from a doc and I’m betting you’ll have a pretty angry doc. We need to be better listeners and build technologies to empower medicine again instead of dictating what we think they need. This will become an incredibly important facet for the survival of independent practitioners or small practices who don’t want to be assimilated into institutional medicine.

The Digital Health Corner

The physician’s role is drastically changing.  More and more physicians are becoming institutional employees.  More patient encounters are performed via non-physician providers.  The increasing regulatory demands on physicians are consuming an inordinate amount of their time. Stress and burnout are universal to some degree. Both the financial and emotional rewards of practicing medicine have greatly diminished. They are becoming more quality control officers than healthcare providers.  However, physicians will never become irrelevant, and their key position regarding healthcare technology needs to be recognized for a number of reasons.

1.    Physicians are important to adoption of new technology.  Physicians are the first line of adoption of new technology. If physicians recommend a technology tool such as a medical app or home monitoring device to patients, there is a significantly higher chance the patient will use it than if it were picked up as a consumer item. This is because hopefully its…

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