I need to make known that I am not a huge fan of obvious advertorial content, in other words, sponsored content (“Tablets could ease healthcare workflows,” n.d.). Since the concept is not going away and is part of the fuel that drives the “free” as in cost web, my preference for it to be labeled as such. This linked story meets that requirement.
Having said this, I found this article to be fascinating as well as a “duh” moment for me is why is this not widespread. Whenever technology is introduced in a collaborative way to any field not friendly to it, there is lag, blowback, disdain, et cetera. I consider myself having a practical understanding of technology, albeit on a limited income. It has made my lifestyle for the better part of the last two decades and enabled my graduate studies and ePortfolio, linked elsewhere on this blog. Since tablets, slates, two-in-one devices are the modern Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), they can carry much more usefulness and information that can be hardened, accessible, monitored, and placed in the hands of medical professionals to remove some of the more mundane aspects of their jobs while letting the focus is patient care and medical decision-making (“Our Solutions — Greenway Medical Technologies,” n.d.). As a health consumer, the ability to communicate with the healthcare team in matters that are near real-time or quickly via e-mail is a shrewd operating state that allows for better diagnosis. It also allows less time going over the same thing at each doctor visit, thus saving the patient time and money, while maximizing the practitioner’s time by getting to the point of the visit. The article is one vendor’s vision to educate its market on their product and service offerings for this field. I am not actively in the field, so one can only guess how effective their pitch is, but it is a market too large to ignore, and will become more important over time as health care transitions to a single-payer model. IMHO, it is not if it will happen but when. The only reason it hasn’t happened to this point is partisan politics. Economics and demographics will force this shift among us, if not civil disobedience.
The barriers to deployment are less technical and more choice-based. The secure Electronic Health Records (EHR) marketplace is available, albeit not at an initial reasonable cost or an “open” system. One of the companies mentioned in the article just so happens to support an Auburn man on the PGA Tour, so the company can’t be all bad and headquartered near my old stomping grounds in Carrollton, GA [~85 mi from where I grew up and about the same distance from my undergraduate education]. The Hippocratic Oath that medical doctors historically swear by has tenets that cover topics like this:
- To hold him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents…
- I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.
- In purity and according to divine law will I carry out my life and my art…
- Into whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick…
The list continues (North, 2002).
Anything that enables a particular Greek historical admonishment, and can be interpreted in modern software and digital transmissions is a good thing in the end. A local hospital group, the “Purple” team, is running ads based on the ability to telemedicine your doctor with Skype™ style technology from anywhere or anytime. A utopia based vision, for sure, but one that can and must happen in order for health outcomes to match the rest of the developed world.