3 Key Insights from Dr. Robert Wachter, Author of “The Digital Doctor”

Amy Krane, Marketing

On April 28 we were proud to host a webinar featuring Dr. Robert Wachter, father of the “hospitalist” movement and recently named the nation’s #1 most influential physician by Modern Healthcare.

QPID Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Zalis moderated as Dr. Wachter provided insights from his new book: The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age. Among the topics discussed was how technology has profoundly changed not only clinical work but also the relationships among healthcare professionals as well as between patients and doctors.

3 key takeaways from the webinar:

1. Beware the “Irony of Automation”:

One repeated theme was the “irony of automation,” which states that as technology gets better, the role of humans becomes more important, not less. Dr. Wachter noted that as health IT becomes more prominent, we must be careful to strike a balance between depending on technology and using our judgment, experience, and training.

2. Healthcare IT should learn from the airline industry:

According to Dr. Wachter, the user-centered concepts employed at companies like Boeing should be applied in healthcare IT. Burdening clinical users with taxing documentation requirements to support billing, malpractice, and quality measures is one symptom of lack of user-centered design. Dr. Wachter & Dr. Zalis shared a vision of the note that captures the human narrative and can be mined for “big data” insights in the way that lab values and other structured information can be leveraged.

3. We have all the tools; it’s a matter of using them:

Dr. Wachter believes we currently possess the necessary tools for improving patient outcomes and the way we approach patient care. Developing these solutions is not the issue. Overcoming political, social, and personal hurdles is the challenge. “The technology we need to make outcomes happen is available. But the challenge is now getting people to rethink how things work.”

Thank you Drs. Wachter and Zalis for your time and your thoughtful, perceptive answers. We hope that the insights gleaned from our webinar will continue to drive the industry towards a more efficient, safe, and bright future.

Follow the link to hear a replay of the webinar for free: “The Digital Doctor”: A Conversation on How to Get It Right

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