I dont know about EHR, but video killed the radio star

Video killed the radio star.
Pictures came and broke your heart
So put all the blame on VCR

We’ve seen it happen before, and it repeats itself – something will always replace the current best thing.

Myspace killed Six degrees (and many others); Facebook killed Myspace.

Healthcare in general has been making great advancements within itself. The infusion (and overlap) of tech advancements with healthcare have helped accelerate health IT disruption. Technology and specifically mobile devices have significantly changed how we communicate and interact.

Email killed paper mail; SMS/Text messages killed phone calls; WhatsApp killed SMS.

Mobile killed the Desktop.

The introduction of Electronic Health Documentation gave us Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, killing paper based documentation. While many software vendors existed in the EHR space, government incentives brought on a whole set of technological initiatives and helped Health-IT become a hot space leading to mass disruption.

With the help of wearable devices, mobile devices and apps, continued government incentives and startups, innovation in Health IT is happening multidimensionally.

As more people move away from emails, phone calls and in-person discussions to Tweets, Facebook posts, WhatsApp and other quicker ways to interact with others, the reliance on mobile technology grows and becomes the preferred way to communicate.

Personally, VOIP was big for me since it allowed me to call my parents internationally without paying ridiculous land-line rates (thanks Vonage); this then transitioned to Skype where my dad would facilitate the calls for my mom since it was still slightly “technical” as you had to use a laptop. Today, my mom Skypes me with her iPhone, and while, she cant type, she sends me audio messages via WhatsApp. I send her videos and pictures of the fun things we do and she loves receiving them. Without all the innovation in technology, I’d still be paying $3 a minute to call her.

It goes without saying that the way people communicate and interact has constantly evolved over time.

Adoption of technology varies by generations/age-groups as someone below 50 is probably more included to use technology than someone over (respectfully ignoring outliers here). The doctors and nurses who preferred paper based documentation over electronic have probably retired by now (again, ignoring outliers), and if the current/next younger generation(s) are more readily going to adopt technology, how does their daily tech use influence how they want to work with technology in Health-IT?

When my kids see a Kiosk, they almost always expect it to be touch friendly, just like any device with capacitive touch, and when things don’t drag, or respond to their touches they get frustrated.

Previously I wrote a quick post on Innovating the Physicians Inbox which used a twitter look/feel to present content in a way that makes it quicker and easier to digest; with intentional drill downs to get additional details/info.

Today, “Secure” text messaging, is making it rounds in Health-IT since almost everyone has a device on them and communicating using their device is just more natural. These secure text message apps pretty much take the idea behind “WhatsApp” (message, audio, image, video, real-time chat) and wrap security around it (HIPAA) and while this accomplishment isn’t small, it’s still missing a major piece.

I remember using IRC back in the day, it was useful and fun. Several months ago, I ran into Slack and I fell in love with it. With its big and powerful integration capabilities, it was a game changer… while it may not be here to “kill” anything, it is definitely the platform to wrap everything else under. Using Slack integrated with: asana + bitbucket + crashlytics + dropbox + raygun + Jira meant that I no longer had to visit any/each of those platforms directly. I had one tool to consume them all, and best yet, was that I could collaborate with all the people I needed to, in one place, with the needed context.

And that is exactly, what is missing from these “Secure” text messaging apps – Context; specifically, Patient Context.

Without integrating with EHR systems, there is a disconnect between the context and the discussion. By integrating with other systems, Slack makes the external context, internal and the collaborative discussion becomes more meaningful.

While today’s hype is around “Secure” text messaging as a tool that helps collaboration, it really should be about collaboration as a platform (rather than a tool). While this platform wont “kill” EHR and other systems, it will integrate with them so that providers can more naturally collaborate on patient care leading to improved communication among care providers as well as communication between care providers and patients leading to a higher quality of care.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s