Medical Technology Innovation: Are we answering the wrong question?

Austin, Texas, November 16, 2012; Posted by Tracey Haas, DO, MPH

Sure, we’re late adopters. Most docs would probably be happy to continue to carry the same brick-sized mobile phone, or row of pagers if it meant they could continue to focus on providing the best patient care.

Keeping up with the latest in our field, cutting edge research and standards of care generally drives us more than keeping up with the latest mobile apps. So why then is the doctor blamed for being slow on the uptake of technology when we are just focusing on better patient care? Isn’t that exactly where you want your doctor to spend their time?

Change cannot be forced on the healthcare provider without the promise that the change will ultimately help them help their patients. Core values must be engaged for change to take hold – so these values must be known.

The questions I wish I’d been asked before a new EMR was chosen:

- What would help you help your patients today?

- Where are you losing time that you could spend ensuring better medical care to your patients?

- If we could eliminate one nuisance in your clinical day, what would it be?

- What barrier exists today that, if removed, would improve the way you deliver care?

When new technology is presented to a doctor, these types of questions must be kept in mind. Rather than bully docs into adopting a technology they may or may not see a benefit in – why not ask them how technology might improve their knowledge and efficiency in providing better patient care? Follow a physician in their office for a day and you will quickly see places for logical systems improvement – better efficiency, flow and coordination. But before any changes are suggested, make sure you factor in the time needed to change a behavior, as well as real motivators.

The fact that a physician is already pulled in so many directions makes it imperative that any new technology must not add to this burden. It must be quick, intuitive and reliable. Of course, don’t forget that it also has to help the doctor help their patients!

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply

Back to top