“Medicine is not often thought of as a creative industry. We focus instead on science and evidence. Behind the science is a group of driven individuals who are focused on problem solving.
The patient’s chart is a collection of information and a record of the thoughts and decisions of those who interact with that patient. Gone is the day of a literary description of a patient’s ailments, the physician’s thoughts and evidence to support the diagnosis and treatment plan. The medical record was a place to follow the often winding path of patient care.
Medical documentation records the history of a patient’s illness and the interventions one goes through on the path to healing. It is something we physicians take seriously, not only to meet legal and professional obligations, but also to record our thoughts. The record captures the creative or artful side of medicine.
Granted, we are all practicing within a system of medicine that occurs at the individual level but has the potential to have a larger effect when viewed from a system-level perspective. In the past, individual medical records were neither developed as a tool for population health management nor to allow for the sharing of quality data. However, today’s electronic health records have the ability to support and affect care for the masses.
The challenge now becomes how to capture the creative thoughts of medical professionals and yet make use of EHRs?
I enjoy technology and using many technical tools in my personal life. When I struggle with an application, I search for a better way of getting things done. One of my goals in health care is to find a way to do the same thing when presented with tools and technology that do not fit into my workflow. Uncovering problems and discovering ways to circumvent them are as important in health care as in any other business.
Like me, many of my colleagues find their relationship with EHRs to be unproductive and constraining to their management of patients. These complaints are often directed at the EHRs themselves, the forms and restrictions they place on user input and the cumbersome interfaces needed to navigate to the patient’s information. Each EHR system has its own constraints that challenge and frustrate medical providers. We are stymied by having to navigate multiple systems in the reconstruction of patient data into a story that has meaning and allows for decision making in the management of care.
Although EHRs have some ability to be customized, it is neither easy nor welcomed by hospital IT to mess with these complex systems for fear they will break other components. This raises questions about the stability and ultimately the expandability of EHR systems to meet current and future health care needs.
When I look at the systems and their interdependent parts, I cannot help but think there must be another way to address these issues. We all speak about interoperability. We think about the development of systems that maintain the integrity of data while allowing medical professionals to use their domain knowledge and requirements for patient care to develop tools.
I see the future of EHRs to be much like the iOS platform and the creation of an app store-like concept enabling health care to solve workflow problems from within. The new 2.0 software platforms with open APIs that enables this sort of development is encouraging. I firmly believe that by opening up development of EHR extensions, tools, interfaces and connectivity will allow for creative people within health care to solve many of these problems from the bottom up. These solutions will come from those in the trenches. We will not need to wait for the EHR industry to see our issues and add them to the next software release, a slow and frequently ineffective process that does not incorporate users in the solution.
The development of an API allowing interaction with other EHRs holds the potential to meet many of the goals outlined in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s 10-year vision for interoperability. This vision talks about an interoperability infrastructure — something that extends beyond a single EHR and meets the needs of patients and providers.
The challenge of interoperability is great, but open APIs encourage me to explore the possibilities of changing health care from the inside. Validating the potential of a cross-platform application that integrates with multiple EHRs may just be the trigger to restore hope. It provides physicians with a platform to turn their frustrations with EHRs into productive outlets for improving patient care by creating new experiences and optimizing their workflows.
As an example, I am an anesthesiologist working to prove the concept that physicians can productively address the constraints and limitations with health care technology by developing an operating room management app to address workflow and patient management issues in the preoperative period.
I looking forward to working with others in health care to define and develop new solutions to patient management. Overcoming the barriers and limitations of health care technology are not insurmountable when you engage and inspire others that solutions are possible.”
Originally published in iHealthBeat, and written by Donald Voltz.
Creative solutions for healthcare are not too far away. They may be right under your nose – but you don’t think of them as a healthcare solution because they are not very technical and complicated – adjectives we tend to associate with medicine.
CaptureProof believes these solutions can come from everyday tasks, social behaviors – not unlike the selfie.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 2013 was the year of the “selfie” – defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”. The selfie is far being a fad of 2013, and far from dying out. In December 2013, Yahoo estimated that the number of photos taken in 2014 will approach one trillion thanks to the selfie.
And who can forget Ellen Degeneres’ most retweeted selfie of all time at the Academy Awards?
We take photos and video all day long, and year long, whether it’s a beautiful landscape, a night out with our friends, or just taking a selfie. With the help of the smartphone putting a camera regularly in our pockets – it has become a social norm to capture and share the moments of your day. So why not apply this to your healthcare?
Medicine is the study patterns. And what better way to understand these patterns than through tracking ourselves and comparing photos and video over time. Of course let’s take a moment to recognize that photos of your health are more private – you probably wouldn’t rush to post photos of your scabbed knee on Instagram for the world to see. CaptureProof allows anyone to track and monitor their health by applying their social behavior to healthcare – while keeping these photos secure and private.
So use photos and video to show-and-tell your doctor, so that they can see-and-know.
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