Microsoft Europe has posted a video on YouTube about a future vision of the care experience for patients and providers. It has high production values, lots of CGI, and presents a tantalizing look at how networks and cool gadgets can make information display and multi-channel communication seamless and integral to great care.
Sure, these depictions of the future might be pie-in-the-sky, with altogether perfect people who seem to live in a world without disorder or the unexpected. Look, however, at the themes running through the Microsoft video – collaboration, team-based care, health information communicated in easily-consumable ways, access to information and insights when it’s most relevant. It really is a powerful story of how care could, and should, be delivered and experienced.
Health care is very reactive, not only in its focus on treating issues rather than patients, but also in its less-than-enthusiastic response to new technologies and new practices. I get it – primary care physicians are overworked, and can barely keep up with patient demands, new care guidelines and the transition to EHRs. Who has time to think about the future?
Yet having a compelling vision is a powerful tool. It helps shape perceptions of the value of new ideas, and creates demand for technologies that take us down the vision path. Healthcare IT is full of vendors that seem compelled to make solutions more complex and difficult than they need to be. Yet the vision in the Microsoft video is one in which the technology pretty much disappears – you just use it. The value is in the information you access, and the conversations you participate in.
We can get there. Who would have imagined a long time ago (say, in 2002) that we’d all be equipped with always-on, always connected smart phones and tablets? Whether you’re a patient or a provider, it’s time to start demanding this kind of simple, seamless technology. We won’t get there in one step, but with this vision powering our demand, we can start down the path.
Steven Ferguson is the patient management officer at Hello Health, the revenue generating EHR platform for primary care practices supporting practice vitality through patient engagement and electronic medical revenue.