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Doctors Can Go Back To Tech School
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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 12:58:56 PM
Telepresence role
A reader points out via Twitter that telepresence and e-learning programs are helping doctors get tech training as well. The issue of whether healthcare IT pros must have medical training is a hot one for our readers...what I have been told by healthcare CIOs is it helps but if you show passion for healthcare, you can work your way onto their teams. But contact people on the team directly so you don't get weeded out.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 1:55:07 PM
Re: Telepresence role
@Laurianne: That's excellent advice, and most of the CIOs and other IT folks I've met in healthcare do show that commitment and enthusiasm. One CIO I interviewed at a major healthcare organization a couple of years ago said, "I'm not responsible for technology, I'm responsible for helping to save people's lives."

It will be interesting to watch as new generations of tech savvy medical students continue to graduate, whether healthcare technology will remain as challenging as it seems to be right now for the practitioners.

What do you think?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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8/1/2014 | 7:34:11 PM
Re: Telepresence role
Really, all employers should be encouraging employees to enhance their knowledge and skills using online courses or real-world schools. We should all strive to be learning all the time. Think of it as an exercise routine for our brains.
jastroff
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jastroff,
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8/2/2014 | 7:19:06 PM
Re: Telepresence role
I agree, but I find that most of my doctors have stopped their IT education with email and health portals. I don't know where they will get the time for more technology training with their busy days.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 7:43:28 PM
Re: Telepresence role
@jastroff: part of the challenge that I see for doctors, at least here in the states, is that they are paid so little per patient in many cases that it's difficult to imagine them investing time in learning to use new technologies, even when they might make their operations more efficient in the long term. Contrary to popular belief, what I have read recently is that he way the medical insurance industry is structured these days many doctors, especially general practitioners, have to pack their schedues just to keep in business.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 5:34:15 PM
Re: Telepresence role
I think doctors have no choice but adapt and try to learn how to use technology in their field better.  There is a strong government push to use technology to improve our health care.  Health workers who do not use their new medical technology can have a negative impact on their patients' lives.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 7:33:49 PM
Re: Telepresence role
@Thomas: Agreed. Are there any online ourses you've taken that you feel you've gained value or knowledge from? What did you like most (and least) about that form of learning experience?
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
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8/2/2014 | 7:00:59 AM
Re: Telepresence role
The world is becomming more and more integrated. For health pros, IT skill is an essential part as well. So it's of no surprise to see this trend. It will take sometime for health pros to get to used to this transformation. But it really depends on the individuals - how much passion you have?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 7:36:21 PM
Re: Telepresence role
@Li Tan: healthcare in particular seems to attract people who are very passionate about what they do. All of the IT professionals I've spoken to in the healthcare sector all say some version of the same thing: At the end of the day my technology choices play a role in saving lives.

That is truly something to be proud of, and to never lose sight of, if you're a healthcare IT pro.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 4:21:26 PM
Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
Medical doctors have too much to do as it is, and there is no shortage of unemployed IT pros around. Rehire those people and train them in the new technologies. The docs themselves only need to be trained to the absolute minimum, which is whatever can't be delegated to others on a practical basis. IT pros don't do brain surgery, and there is no need for doctors to become computer experts, unless they want to do it for fun as a hobby, in which case I recommend Arduino boards.
Michelle
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Michelle,
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8/3/2014 | 10:37:40 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
That's an option. I suspect many physicians will spend time learning only the minimum they need to enter patient information to save time.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/4/2014 | 2:13:14 AM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
Gary, 

 "IT pros don't do brain surgery, and there is no need for doctors to become computer experts"

There is a need for doctors to learn how to do brain surgery in the 21st century. This means they need to learn how to use technology in the operation room. iPads, Google Glass, and robots are already being used to assist surgeons. It's the surgeon the one who needs to be operating the devices, not the IT pro. 

-Susan
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 12:47:32 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
Agreed, Susan, but iPads are used by everyone, and Google Glass will be used by everyone. Just by virtue of being part of society, the docs will become fluent with these devices like everyone else. As for robots, those will need to be operated only by specialists, surgeons. They will need to learn how to operate them. But it will be the IT pros alone who will need to build them, sell them and service them. Although yes, the surgeons will have to become involved in specifying them.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/5/2014 | 4:36:27 AM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
Gary, 

My point is that the minimum all doctors should be using now are iPads, Glass, EHRs, and some AI to assist those who are surgeons. When you talk with some doctors they don't even want to spend time learning about how to efficiently use EHRs and ePrescriptions. 

Robots assisting surgeons and also through telemedicine already exist today. There are also robots that visit patients which count with a screen through which the physicians communicate with those patients. 

Doctors today can't limit their knowledge to just medicine and believe that technology is just for the IT people. That was in the past. They need to learn about the technology available to assist their practice and incorportate it as soon as possible.

Another thing, iPads may be used by everyone, but doctors need to learn to use the specific applications for their practice. Glass is perfect for surgeons and for med students. 

-Susan  
JasonS441
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JasonS441,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2014 | 9:39:57 AM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
I am so sick of non-doctors who think they have the right to tell doctors how they should work or what they should do.  You dont know anything about medicine.

 

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 7:31:15 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
@JasonS441: Fair enough. Are you a doctor or medical professional?

If so, I would very much like to know more about the challenges you're facing in dealing with changing technology and regulatory environments. We're all here to learn.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 7:40:24 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
@Gary_EL: What you're saying is really similar to the role technology plays in any business: Business professionals need to know how to use technology to get their jobs done. IT professionals need to be the experts in the deployment, training and upgrading of the technology. Likewise for healthcare profeessionals: I want my doctors to be focused first and foremost on providing me with high quality healthcare. It's a bonus if they are also tech-savvy. One of my doctors -- who is an expert not based in my state -- will do consultations with me via Skype.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/26/2014 | 10:26:56 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
@Susan
But doctors are in a class by themselves, because there are only so many medical degrees granted in the US every year. That means there are only so many doctors, and, combined, they can only do so much in any given time period. Any time they spend on IT is time they can't spend doing medicine. On the other hand, there is a virtually unlimited supply of unemployed IT engineers who'd be delighted to do it for them.

That doesn't mean some docs might want to amass very considerable IT expertise in their spare time. Or, they might want to go fishing, write novels, or become black belts in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 6:55:30 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
@Gary_EL: There is a virtually unlimited supply of unemployed IT engineers who'd be delighted to do it for them.

Sounds to me like it's time to start an agency connecting these unemployed IT engineers with the docs who really need them.

 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2014 | 8:12:21 PM
Re: Medical doctors have too much to do as it is
I don't know about an agency, but it sounds like a great idea for facebook page or a blog. I'll see if any of the people I'm thinking of want to be listed.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 4:29:12 AM
There is a need for more healthcare technology academies
SusanN, 

"Are TAMHSC and Dell on the right track with their healthcare technology academy?"

Yes, they definitely are. More initiatives like this one is what is going to help physicians get into the health technology track, which they need to practice medicine in the 21st century. 

"Is it necessary for a new discipline to emerge that combines clinical know-how with technological skill, a sort of Dr. CIO?"

Maybe not a Dr. CIO, but something close to that. The fact is that a doctor without any technological knowledge who doesn't know how to use simple devices such as an iPad, Google Glass, or a surgical robot to assist them in their medical practice are going to be so behind that either learn quickly and adapt to the changes, or change career. 

"Also, what are your biggest concerns about EHRs and the increasingly tech-dependent state of healthcare?"

I don't have any concerns about EHRs other than thinking that the slow adoption by some physicians is really worrysome. EHRs are not something new. They have been around for many years now. And yet, the discussions around EHRs are always, always, always the same. :/ The good thing is that the state of EHRs adoption in Europe is much higher than in the US, and moving quickly. 

I don't have any concerns about the increasing tech-dependant state of heathcare either. On the contrary. I believe it is simply a logical consequence of today's tech-dependant society. This is not bad. It means advancement. It mean evolution. This requires adaptation, which is always necessary as part of any evolutionary process.   

Good questions, Susan. Do I get a golden star for answering to all the questions? :) Maybe a candy, too? :D

-SusanF
cschooler
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cschooler,
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8/4/2014 | 1:40:08 PM
Two programs, not one...
Is TAMHSC on the right track?  Yes in some regards.  Educating end user docs on the HIT capability road map such as tele-health and mobile will make for a smoother adoption of these technologies over time. 

However, TAMHSC is not on the right track with its two goals: a) teaching end users and b) developing HIT technologists.  Because the target prospective student is completely different for each goal, these goals need to be separated to provide clarity of purpose and reduce confusion.

For example, with end users, the goal is to create better end user docs. The curriculum should focus on the tools they use in their specialty and day-to-day activities.  In this scenario, the goal is to create "drivers" not "mechanics".  An end user needs to know how to operate the capability, be it an EHR, a DICOM system or robotic surgery instrument.  They don't necessarily need to understand the underlying technology such as a relational data base in the case of a (modern) EHR.   The curriculum should include product and capability roadmaps for the functions they may use in the future such tele-health.

For technologists, goal is to create "better" technology. This falls into the age-old tech debate as to who can build a better capability, a tech expert or a end user expert.  As the Human Computer Interface field has shown with its emphasis on end user design methodologies, the optimum path to useful technology is the combination of the two.  The question for this curriculum is: Does this have to be the same person?  How would a design team approach fit into the curriculum?

In addition, a key learning objective for the technology curriculum should be impact of the sea change in the User Interface (UI) paradigm.  A  high percentage of EHR complaints today are based on the fact that first the command line and then the GUI/mouse interface were not equal to the task in a clinical setting no matter how fancy the graphics or how the checkboxes were aligned.  The UI promise of mobile, in addition to being now powerful and cost effective is that it has gesture, video, microphone, an ever increasing number of sensors and is, well mobile.  For the technology curriculum to be on the right track, it has to answer the question: will it produce the innovative people who can take the next generation UI and solve the short comings of the current HIT applications? 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 8:18:14 PM
Re: Two programs, not one...
@cschooler: Thank you for your thoughtful and considered response. You've highlighted a core and very important issue that I hadn't considered: two very different bases of potential students. I hope in the long run the cirriculum will serve both of those groups meet their own unique learning goals.

In particular I see the GUI and mobility issues as being the greatest obstacle to the advancement of these applications.

Why is it, do you think, that developers of these apps have done such a generally poor job on the usability and mobile access?
cschooler
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cschooler,
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8/27/2014 | 1:06:28 PM
Re: Two programs, not one...
I don't see current UIs (Windows, Icons, Mouse and Point (WIMP) as the result of a poor job. Rather they are limited by the WIMP technology. This limitation causes low user satisfaction because the lowest level user, i.e. the clinician, is required to input most if not all of the data essentially by hand and in a double whammy gets the least return from the system.  This phenomena has parallels in the professional sales industry.  With today's CRM systems sales reps have to input most of the data, but get the least value from the system in return.  And, in some cases, are managed by and to the data with "sticks" and not "carrots." 

As for the next wave of GUI technology (as embodied by just one example referred to as "mobile", i.e. a laptop with a physical touch interface, gesture navigation and selection, sensors such as GPS; microphones; cameras and accelerometers, and light weight), it is, in technology adoption life cycle terms, "emerging." I see this emergence not as a obstacle, but as huge opportunity.  The various technologies are just reaching commercial viability, some more than other (voice compared to iPad). This means that they are in their first, of many, implementation iterations. My prediction is, just as barcodes and RFIDs revolutionized the supply chain, new UI technology including, but by no means limited to, touch, gesture, sensors and voice, will do the same for healthcare.   
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 6:52:50 PM
Re: Two programs, not one...
@cschooler: This pretty well sums things up: the lowest level user, i.e. the clinician, is required to input most if not all of the data essentially by hand and in a double whammy gets the least return from the system.

Your comparison to a CRM system is quite fitting as well.

In these cases, who would you say ends up getting the most return from the system?


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