Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tech Bubble

I think I might have been living in a tech bubble over the past several months. However, yesterday it popped.

Yesterday, I heard a great presentation given by a passionate middle-aged primary care physician who donates her time weekly to practicing medicine in a free clinic for the homeless within a homeless shelter in Columbus, Ohio. Amazing right? Even more amazing...this was her FIRST time to give a powerpoint presentation and she was nervous about using the technology!

The irony of having recently attended Stanford's Medicine 2.0 in Silicon Valley where conference badges had QR codes to attending a conference by The Ohio Association of Free Clinics in Columbus Ohio yesterday where powerpoint is a novelty really demonstrates some of the real life barriers that healthcare technology visionaries such as myself must not lose perspective on.

Physicians such as this wonderful one are doing truly fearless humanitarian work right here in the US on the frontlines of medicine caring for the underserved population. Yet, notable fear by some healthcare providers is present with regards to technology. Interestingly enough, this physician DOES have a smartphone and DOES feel comfortable using it. She uses her smartphone mostly outside of the clinic in her personal life but also uses apps inside of the clinic. She often looks up drug interactions using Epocrates mobile app while in the clinic which is consistent with national trends reporting that 80% of physicians use smartphones in their daily medical practice. I'm happy to see concretely that mobile health via smartphones offers a solution to technology fear by healthcare providers given data showing growing numbers of provider users both inside and outside of the clinic. This is different than powerpoint or EMRs given that healthcare providers are rarely using these technologies outside of the professional environment.

I will try hard to maintain a healthy appreciation of the fear that some healthcare providers have about technology. However, I have confidence in my pursuit of a mobile health future knowing that a fearful powerpoint novice is not afraid of her smartphone. Thus, a mobile health future is tangible, and even welcomed.

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