10 Healthcare IT Predictions
3. The human touch becomes a major tech issue. A bumper sticker spotted where I live in Berkeley, CA, says, "It's become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity." We are running a risk of losing the human touch in an age of health tech marvels. Teams may be communicating better than ever, but from the patient's point of view it's a blur of emails, messages, phone calls, and faces. The medical home is one response to the depersonalization of medicine. Can tech provide other "repersonalizing" experiences? Examples include videoconferencing, social networking, technology-mediated support groups, and simple time on the phone with a physician.
4. Tablets replace expensive videoconferencing gear. Too much of the videoconferencing gear in hospitals today looks like the giant screens of the original Star Trek series. If you want to know where it's going, look at what Captain Jean-Luc Picard used in Star Trek: The Next Generation: a small screen in his quarters, for more confidential communications without losing that face-to-face factor. A telecommunications executive recently told me he had informally checked the usage logs of expensive videoconferencing systems at hospitals—and found them woefully underutilized. Now that tablets are proliferating, look for those to be employed, perhaps even in group settings, as the videoconferencing system of choice.
5. Identity crisis. Information flows at the speed of trust. If massive EHR use is to avoid massive fraud, a national patient ID (and provider ID) system is a requirement. For example, there is a huge number of women named Maria Gonzales in Los Angeles County. With multiple payers, providers, and government agencies trying to keep track of all of them, there's also huge potential for fraud as medical records are automated.
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