As medical treatment is impacted by technology, consumerization, and the mobile revolution, we may see a world where your doctor already knows why you’re sick and can treat you over the phone–leaving the hospitals for the true emergencies.
There’s a video featuring the Kaiser Foundation that I found one day when I was perusing YouTube for insight on how the vision of the hospital has morphed over time. The video, which projects a 1950’s glimpse of the “ultra-modern hospital” offers the promise of all things streamlined and expedited, and includes amenities ranging from advanced lighting fixtures that promise no shadows during surgery to sliding baby drawers that provide mothers with easy access to their newborns (an idea ahead of its time as far as maternal-infant bonding benefits were concerned).
When you watch this video now, more than 60 years later, there’s something comical about the predictions provided. Still, at that time, I can imagine how this vision would have seemed Earth shattering. In the 1950s, the first color televisions and McDonald’s appeared so it’s not surprising that things like remote control doors could really “wow” the general public.
Let’s fast forward to where we are today, however. As a chief medical information officer and clinician, I’m tasked with keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s happening both in health care and in the real world as it relates to advancements in technology. Now, more than ever, these two worlds are colliding. The consumerization of health care has begun and the idea of doctor as driver and patient as bystander is nothing short of archaic. Today, the clearly demarcated lines between patient and caregiver are becoming blurred as patients are tasked with stepping up to the plate and actively engaging in their own health and well-being.
As we catapult into this new era of health care, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the massive shift to value-based care–or care that’s focused on quality, efficiency and outcomes vs. volume–will mean for physicians and patients. More so, I’ve been reimagining patient care. In an effort to focus and share my vision, I’m offering my thoughts on the hospital of the future and the top three transformations that will drive the next generation of patient-centric care.
TRANSFORMATION #1:TECHNOLOGY THAT WORKS FOR PHYSICIANS VS. AGAINST THEM
Issues surrounding the usability of electronic health records (EHR) continue to surface despite federal mandates that clearly state that this transition isn’t really optional. To demonstrate how mainstream these EHR frustrations have become one only needs to take a brief jaunt to Twitter and search #EHRbacklash. Part of the frustration rests in the fact that doctors are forced to fit their patient data into drop down menus and point-and-click options. There’s clearly something missing within that approach to documenting a patient story. Moreover, EHRs and the typing that goes along with them, act as a barrier between the patient and doctor. Instead of encouraging interaction and engagement, technology has become a concrete wall between patient and caregiver.
So what’s the solution? It involves taking a page out of the consumer technology world. The idea being that mobile virtual assistants, like Siri, but built with medical-specific speech recognition, language understanding and artificial intelligence could shoulder the burden of these usability frustrations for physicians. In essence, streamlining how physicians interact and navigate the EHR at the point of care, while also simplifying access to data within the layers of information hidden in the system. Perhaps most importantly, this type of intelligent virtual assistant could allow physicians to turn away from the computer or tablet and engage the patient in the creation of their own record through a conversational user interface that listens, captures and creates the digital record in a natural, human way.
TRANSFORMATION #2: THE CONSUMERIZATION OF HEALTH CARE
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