“Life used to be simpler,” my mom says while making her fourth attempt to update her Windows firmware in order to install Office 2011 on top of Office 2008. I don’t correct her, but I don’t believe her either. As far as I can tell, life has always been complicated; and certainly as long as … Read more
In my last post on Co.Design, I wrote about how mandatory implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) technology is forcing highly skilled physicians out of practice. The trend is primarily affecting the older generation of physicians, who didn’t grow up with computers. These doctors aren’t used to interacting with a big screen between them and … Read more
Every year, the biggest ideas in health care are presented at the Mayo Clinic’s Transform conference in Rochester, Minnesota. I was there this year to present a pre-conference workshop with a Continuum colleague on everyday creativity, and another pair of Continuum designers gave a main-stage talk entitled, “Patient Centricity: A design identity crisis.” Also on the lineup were John Hockenberry and Roger Martin, bigwigs from J+J and GE Healthcare, and practitioners from the top-tier design and innovation firms. Many cutting-edge ideas were presented, along with some spirited debate on the hot topics of delivering care and the role of technology.
Here are my top five conference takeaways on the future design of health care.
First off, I keep running into the fact that…
1. Medicine is changing rapidly, and technology must keep up.
It’s often said that humans can’t keep up with technology. To a certain extent, that’s true. Generations of technology happen much more frequently than generations of people. However, there is a counterintuitive corollary to that, which is that medicine is moving so fast that the IT systems that support it aren’t flexible enough to adapt.
The practice of medicine changes constantly, and your product will have to change as well.Read more
Last May, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center shut down its living donor kidney transplant program because of a serious medical error. A man in need of a transplant was given a kidney from a donor who did not know she had tested positive for hepatitis C. The positive test was, however, included in the donor’s medical record, and an automated alert saying as much was missed by all six members of the team reviewing the procedure. The incident resulted in the immediate shutdown of transplants, the demotion of the department head, the suspension of a nurse, and the initiation of two federal investigations.
There are two reasonable explanations for this incident. First, the six medical professionals reviewing the transplant records were incompetent and inattentive. Second, the system that was supposed to warn practitioners of the infection did not do its job, even though it did show a highlighted alert. Neither is easy to swallow. But there’s a growing body of evidence showing that the electronic medical records software designed to prevent precisely these types of errors may be contributing to them.Read more
Fixing our floundering healthcare system may be the single most complex design challenge ever. Bad design forced Dr. Bruce Mason*, the clinical director of a large outpatient department at one of the preeminent teaching hospitals in the country, to force out one of the best doctors in his department. The doctor who was let go, … Read more