The Apple ad, “1984,” appeared 24 years ago announcing Macintosh to the world, a user friendly desktop computer for all of us – even those so technologically inept as the average physician. I’m sure there were companies out there at the time developing computer tools for doctors to help them manage their patients. Yet, it’s 24 years later and something like 80% of primary care doctors still do everything in a paper-based environment.
Recently, I’ve been meeting with many experts in the Healthcare IT industry and their universal response to me is “Technology is not the solution." Technology aimed at doctors has been around for years, but doctors simply don’t have an incentive to use technology. First, it’s way too expensive in upwards of $50,000 per physician to use these systems. Doctors simply can’t justify solid returns on their investments. Technology is also disruptive to physicians normal workflow. Once an old geezer doctor gets used to writing on paper, their only concern becomes whether or not they got that cool new Viagra pen – not about how can I make my life easier for both myself and my patients using technology that absolutely every other industry in the world adopted 20 years ago.
The real question is…how are we going to change physician behavior? How are we going to get doctors to adopt technology to streamline their processes?
I just turned 32. I went to Washington University for undergrad and started in 1994. Wash U was one of the main hubs of the internet at that time.
I GREW UP WITH THE INTERNET.
This year’s class was born in 1982…two years before Apple’s ad.
My consciousness, my friends, my life, my knowledge, my damn near everything is on the internet. I don’t know how I would survive without it. I’ve graduated from my second residency and looked around so that I can easily practice medicine using a platform that’s just as easy to use as flickr, facebook, myspace, youtube, backpack, campfire, anything from 37 Signals, etc..
No matter how hard I look…IT DOESN’T EXIST.
Are physicians going to change their behavior? I should hope not. I should hope my colleagues are smart enough to avoid these hairball, insanely-priced, counterintuitive products.
I know how to leverage technology. I also know what looks good. But most importantly, I know that making software idiot-proof is one secret to success. Bloat and complication will kill any inroads into the elusive physician practice.
Every May of every year since I graduated in 2002, thousands of physicians graduate from medical school into a world without computer tools. It’s such a shame.
Myca and I are essentially giving to these masses the tools they’ve grown up with. All you have to do is glance at the interface and immediately know what this patient is all about. It’s a revolution in Healthcare IT – we will set the standard for how a doctor views medical data. IT savvy doctors are currently practicing on interfaces that rip off Motorola RAZRs from 2001.
We developed the iPhone of medical information.
Finally, graduating physicians will have something that they can relate to….something that reminds them of their everyday lives. Something that is simple, intuitive, powerful, and beautiful.
First…before changing physician behavior, you need to give them a reason to change. The funny thing is, this revolutionary interface – it’s just an added benefit to the real reason physicians will change their behavior and start practicing medicine as it should be practiced, free from all the obstacles of modern primary care. Pick up the latest issue of Wired…the one with the article about "Free” to get a few more hints of what we’re creating. It’s goddamn beautiful.