At 8:24 a.m. on Thursday, June 22nd 2017, the average emergency department wait time at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts was nine minutes. We know that not because we visited the ED that day, but because we visited their Yelp listing.
Americans can’t live without their phones, and healthcare professionals are not immune either.
On average, we spend five hours each day on mobile technology, and 77% of Americans own smartphones. In a 2012 study of healthcare professionals, 87% of doctors reported using smartphones or tablets on the job, and recent small-sample reports indicate that the number is rising.
Since the GOP began talks of a new healthcare bill during the 2016 campaign, there has been much debate about what the future of healthcare might look like. On May 4, a glimpse was provided: the Republicans introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that would eliminate many of the provisions the Affordable Care Act (ACA) afforded.
Imagine that your knee has been bothering you. You visit your primary care physician who then refers you to a specialist. The specialist decides you need surgery. After surgery, you are discharged home or to a skilled nursing facility. Through each step of the care episode, you move from one provider to the next, but no one is truly coordinating your care during the transitions and no one is ensuring an optimal outcome.
Each year, clinicians make 13 million post-acute referrals for Medicare patients.
With healthcare providers facing increased pressure to both lower costs and improve quality, post-acute care after hospitalization is a logical choice—it provides a safe, personalized environment in which patients can be cared for and healed by professionals. For many patients and families, however, the choice is not so obvious.
We have entered the age of data overload. In just two years, from 2011 to 2013, we generated 90% of all data in the history of the world. And much of it is just the click of a button or touch of a screen away.
When asked her top priority for Patient #4, the hospital nurse caring for her stated that keeping the patient in bed would be best. And the doctor’s orders? “Get her out of bed.”
The dramatic rise in opioid use in the United States has forced emergency rooms to the front lines in our nation’s fight against drug addiction. ER doctors and nurses are now in a daily struggle in the choice between appropriately alleviating a patient’s pain and possibly feeding an established or growing dependency.
“I feel like I’m invisible to the provider when they’re looking at the computerized chart. I would like them to sit with me, and together we face that computer, and they show me what they are seeing and reading,” said a patient, when asked about the impact of EHRs on medical visits.
In their ideal forms, healthcare and technology should not be complicated. However, there’s an interesting tension at their intersection in which technology doesn’t always seem to simplify matters in healthcare. In other industries, technology creates value by streamlining workflows, freeing up time, and generally reducing complexity. Virtual administrative assistants can automatically coordinate calendars to schedule appointments, and collaboration tools have enabled more effective remote and asynchronous communication.