Can Healthcare Tech Feel Invisible?

We know a lot of 7CTOs members are involved in some way in the healthcare industry, so we like to keep an eye out for stories relevant to that space.

Today, we Googled up a worthwhile piece from the Health IT & CIO Review section of Becker’s Hospital Review, a publication we’d never heard of before, but will return to again after reading its profile of Brian Garcia, chief technology officer of Denver-based personalized healthcare optimization company (whatever that means), Welltok.

Before getting to that, though, we’d also like to note that two of Becker’s most-read stories this year caught our eye, about hackers shutting down Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center’s IT systems and demanding a $3.6 million ransom, before settling for $17K.  Turns out it was all a misunderstanding about bitcoins, LOL.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Health and wellness tech. The Becker article makes a good comparison between technology playing catch-up in the healthcare space and healthcare itself playing catch up with “the entire modern era of medicine, focusing on diagnosing and treating retroactively instead of anticipating illness and fighting it off before symptoms appear.”

That’s what the article is ultimately about: Using technology to simplify engagement and action for people without making it feel clunky and complicated.

Technology is helping forward-thinking companies “change healthcare from a largely episodic-oriented system that tends to be highly paternalistic to something that empowers individuals to invest in their own health," Garcia says.

One goal is to create sustainability for patients' personal health and reduce the amount of people who become high-risk. It can also help make sure patients are seen as more than just their conditions, because too often overloading them with data about their conditions ends up defining who they are inside what can be an impersonal system.

Unfortunately, Garcia notes, many hospitals have a difficult time getting patients to download apps or use other forms of mobile health tools; putting such a heavy focus on adoption, rather than the ability of a technology to improve the patient experience, is likely keeping healthcare from reaching its full potential.

The article runs with it from there, with ideas about how to frontload patient information for doctors and providers without depending on the patient to get on board with the tech.  We recommend reading it whether you’re in health/wellness IT or not, because it’s likely everyone in 7CTOs is going to be using a healthcare system over the course of a year, and our members are in a better place than most to help decide what’s working and what’s not when it comes to tech.

Before we sign off, though, we’d like to toss this tidbit that comes at the subject from a completely opposing viewpoint -- that health/wellness IT is a “digital dystopia,” as declared by no less than the CEO of the American Medical Association, James Madara, MD, during his keynote address at the 2016 AMA Annual Meeting. Dr. Madara compared the current digital health landscape, to the "quackery" of “snake oil remedies.” Yikes!