BY KIM BELLARD
For better and for worse, our healthcare system is built around physicians. For the most part, they’re the ones we rely on for diagnoses, for prescribing medications, and for delivering care. And, often, simply for being a comfort.
Unfortunately, in 2023, they’re still “only” human, and they’re not perfect. Despite best intentions, they sometimes miss things, make mistakes, or order ineffective or outdated care. The order of magnitude for these mistakes is not clear; one recent study estimated 800,000 Americans suffering permanent disability or death annually. Whatever the real number, we’d all agree it is too high.
Many, myself included, have high hopes that appropriate use of artificial intelligence (AI) might be able to help with this problem. Two new studies offer some considerations for what it might take.
The first study, from a team of researchers led by Damon Centola, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, looked at the impact of “structured information–sharing networks among clinicians.” In other words, getting feedback from colleagues (which, of course, was once the premise behind group practices).
Long story short, they work, reducing diagnostic errors and improving treatment recommendations.
This week, I have had the pleasure of attending the CHIME Fall Forum event in San Antonio, Texas. What I like most about this event is being able to talk to CIOs and hear their thoughts on this rollercoaster world of healthcare IT – to hear first-hand what challenges they face, what keeps them up at night, and what they are doing to solve these issues. As a vendor, we always strive to provide the best solutions and the best services possible that meet the needs of our customers. In this hectic world of regulations, deadlines, and competing priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of what is important and why we all do this in the first place. Ultimately, it comes down to doing what is right for the patients.
Although not all of the vendors attending CHIME offer the same solutions, nor do the attendees from different hospitals have the same challenges, there is one common theme among healthcare IT vendors, hospital CIOs, government officials, etc. At some point in our life, either ourselves, or someone we know, will be a consumer of the healthcare system seeking care. You want to be assured that the hospital or healthcare provider has done everything they can to be efficient and give you or your loved one the care that is deserved
So how do we, as a vendor, play a role in this? By listening to our customers about the challenges they are facing, and working with them to solve them. The greatest reward as a leader in a healthcare IT company is when we can grow a relationship and collaborate with a CIO to come up with the right solutions to their problems which ultimately benefits the patients. This may include streamlining a process so the patient gets results faster, or safe-guarding their medical information, or making the jobs of the clinicians easier so they can focus on the patient. These results make all the hard work worthwhile.