In defense of the humble physician!

I have been observing a trend. It has become fashionable for most consultants and technologists to blame the physician for all that is wrong with the healthcare industry.They have been accused of not adapting technology, being resistant to change and ensuring that healthcare as an industry remains unproductive.

But how can a technologist, who has never held a scalpel in his life take a call on physicians? I not only find that absurd but also ludicrous.

Physicians have formed the most vital component of the healthcare provider industry, performing a wide range of therapeutic services across many disciplines. Most physicians come from medical schools that are still seeped in the traditional form of learning, mostly theory and clinical. Business or technology does not form a part of the curriculum, and there comes the biggest challenge for most physicians.

Imagine you have never been trained to look at technology as a tool to improve clinical outcomes. As a matter of fact most senior clinicians abhor even basic tests encouraged to rely on their experience and expertise. How many times we have looked down upon doctors who perform more tests than we feel are required.

I believe the issue is a serious one an needs some rethink, these are some of my thoughts on this issue

1) Technology and tools like analytics should be introduced in medical schools as part of the curriculum. They need to be educated rights from the undergraduate days that there are tools that are available that can help in diagnosis and improve clinical outcomes.

2) technology for the sake of it should not be implemented. There has to be a clear road map on what technology would help the physician make an informed decision and what would be the return on investment both for time and effort for the physician.

3) There has be increased emphasis on security, data safety and confidentiality and this has to be in line with HIPAA norms and part of the education modules.

4) Physicians have to be involved in the technology implementation process, many healthcare providers have roles like the CMIO (Chief Medical Information officer) and I think this trend will continue and spread to others.

But I would also like to hear your views, both from physicians and non physicians, what are the other challenges, are we there yet? What else can be done to improve clinical outcomes? Are the current avenues for physician education enough?

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Arch

    While I agree that aspiring medical professionals do not have exposure to technology n their formative years, I feel it cannot be an excuse to not learn about it when one is practising. After all, not many of us did projects on MS Office while in school or college. But we are adapting it because that is what our enterprises demand of us.Perhaps medical professionals lack understanding of how technology can improve their business and operations. Once they are made aware of how trechnology can actually keep costs low, even small physicians, who have a computer/ laptop at home should be able to use it for their practice.

  2. Dr Vikram

    Hi ArchI agree and there have been moves to cover that gap and the most important one in that respect has been the creation of the roles like the Chief Medical Information Officer. There has been some creation of the continuing medical education modules in IT. Right now physicians don’t want to waste time entering data into a computer post their rounds. The advent of tablets has really helped to cover that as well, Physicians are more comfortable using smart phones and tablets and hopefully this would help bridge the gap as well.

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