As a medical device software executive, my first reaction is to circle the wagons and give a quick: “You don't get it!” Then after about four seconds, my training and experience cut in and I understand the real cause: we, the designers. Of course there can be users of any technology who are simply obstinate because “they have nothing to fear but change itself,” but a practicing physician pretty much can't be in that category because they're smart enough to recognize the amazing benefits to their efficiency and to the quality of medicine for their patients. Tech-savvy medical students with iPhones, even more so.
Electronic health record technology on the uptick
So it comes down to either we didn't ask or didn't listen to the response. Of course, there is the other possibility that in this case, we are not taking optimum advantage of the technology palette that we can use to connect our medical professionals with their patients' records. I don't have the details of the software packages and wouldn't comment if I did, but one of the constants in medical device production is that the main predictor of a great quality product is great design. And quality is defined as the user effectively, safely and willingly using the product.
But, in self-defense, the design tools we can now use have taken a gigundo uptick. Technologies like cloud computing, multitouch displays, better development environments, better remote support and, lastly, the standards that are behind “meaningful use,” seem a perfect fit for healthcare. Since the last technology was only really announced on New Year's Eve (literally), I would ask Dr. Leland Berkwits for two things: a little patience and to keep hammering on us so we can it right for you.
Tom MarinerVice President, Software and IPQuantum Medical ImagingRonkonkoma, N.Y.
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