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The next generation of health IT

It is time to forge the next generation of technology that helps physicians get back to practicing the art of medicine, and not working as data entry specialists.

In the last decade, technology has made massive strides in transforming a paper-based healthcare industry into a digital one; however, the unintended consequences of these implementations on our physicians have been significant.  We now stand on the threshold of new phase of health IT innovation, armed with the knowledge of end-user challenges.  It is time to forge the next generation of technology that helps physicians get back to practicing the art of medicine, and not working as data entry specialists.

This next generation of health IT needs to bring patients and physicians closer together.  Andrew Watson, MD, CMIO and Medical Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) rightly stated: “There are 8,736 hours in a year, yet we expect a 60-minute annual wellness visit to keep our patients healthy for the remaining 8,735 hours of the year.  That amount of white noise between visits doesn’t work.”  We need to create solutions that enable us to stay in touch with our physicians.  In every other aspect of our lives, we rely on technology to keep us connected to family members, co-workers in other offices, and friends in distant cities.  Why do accept less connectivity when it comes to our own health care.

Technology needs to become the invisible partner to physicians, acting as an invisible scribe and second-opinion in the room, quickly scanning the tomes of patient’s family medical history to determine if a certain gene was documented at some point.  In the coming months, we will be featuring technology trends that are having the most impact on the health IT industry and explore the ways we can help physicians practice the art of medicine in a digital world.

 

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