A Provider's POV: Can Technology Help Us Be Better Patient Advocates?

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Healthcare delivery is changing with the evolution of technology. 

It’s no secret that healthcare has evolved exponentially over the last few decades. I entered the healthcare world over 40 years ago, 20 years in advance of the latest technology of the time, the PalmPilot. Now, we’ve seen the evolution to health technology and artificial intelligence (AI) that monitor patient vitals across units, making this information readily available to the care team. This is a significant shift from the early days of medical informatics.

Throughout my career in medicine and medical informatics, I’ve learned how healthcare and IT teams can build successful IT implementations that streamline workflows while yielding better patient care.

Decision-making is shifting from physician-led to IT-led. 

With the rise of AI, healthcare is seeing a shift from physician-led decision-making to IT-led decision-making. AI creates pathways for more streamlined, data-driven care delivery. However, every discipline must have a seat at the table, especially as health organizations seek to innovate. 

Additionally, data sets must be scrutinized for inequity. If the data is not holistic and inclusive of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds, bias and limitations will be built into the systems. Providers and IT professionals must collaborate to ensure we’re not institutionalizing inequity in algorithms. Successful technology implementation requires buy-in and teamwork between clinical and IT disciplines. 

Cross-functional collaboration is at the heart of successful IT implementation. 

As providers incorporate technology in their workflows, it is critical that all stakeholders have a voice in the design and implementation for optimal care delivery. One way to help address issues and mitigate the learning curve is to walk through “a day in the life” with that technology. 

Bringing new technology into real-world applications helps healthcare and IT professionals better identify discrepancies and needs while having exposure to the system before go-live. Documentation is also important for future reference and easing the transition. Establishing a culture of collaboration between IT and physicians creates more compassion for day-to-day frustrations, helping both units develop a solution that is as frictionless as possible. 

Patient advocacy is a matter of life and death. 

Technology provides the potential to ease workflows, improve care delivery and build cross-functional healthcare teams—invaluable steps on the path to successful health outcomes. The way providers advocate for patients can be a matter of life and death, which is why leveraging technology for quality care is essential in the modern healthcare arena. Through collaboration across all aspects of the health system, healthcare leaders can develop technology that is responsive, adaptable and ready for the future of patient care. 

Stream now 

Listen to my full conversation on The Tate Chronicles for an in-depth look at how technology is shaping the future of patient care.

About the Author:
Charles H. Bell, D.O., B.S. Pharm

Physician Consultant, CereCore

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