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Monday, December 8, 2014

H2T: Humanizing Healthcare Technology


"Humanizing Healthcare Technology"(H2T) is a rallying call from a minority of professionals in the healthcare niche.  "Kindred spirits" evangelizing the transformation of healthcare into a more 'human' approach - sounds odd until you hear the stories.  Don't doctors deliver bad news in a compassionate manner, empathize with each patient and provide conversations filled with hope all the time?

Apparently, the void between doctors and nurses, and doctors and patients has been expanding for decades, but this group of professionals are bringing the issues to light.  The conference held an air of relief as story after story was presented; reassured that even as outliers, they are not alone.

These doctors, nurses and IT professionals feel the urge to reconnect to the simple truth of health care - the provider and patient relationships should drive the entire system, not a machine, nor data to and from a machine.  Revenue cycles and coding standards are man made contraptions derived to streamline the delivery of money - not service - and produce the many layers between patient and provider.  

Listening to each speaker express gratitude for the event, the first of its kind, reminded me of the genesis of the managed print services association (MPSA) in 2009.  Both groups considering themselves a minority in an industry facing ridicule and derision as promotion driven professionals support existing, top down structures rooted in profit making.  

Of course, there is no comparison between the copier/mps niche and healthcare.  

Regardless of which way you turn, the active management of toners, copiers and printers is a tiny dot in the universe compared to actively optimizing processes in efforts to save human lives.  But paper is still playing a part in the healthcare orchestration, nonetheless.

So, there we sat, connecting with each speaker and hearing the reality of our healthcare system.  One that is basically saying that their duty to feed the cold metal beast information is lessening their time and touch with people in need, not increasing it.  

Simply the phrase, "Humanizing Healthcare Technology" makes you think, "...what about "Humanizing all Technology?"  At first this seems silly until you recognize the humanized technology around us.

Cell phones, watches, eating utensils - technology that has been humanized.  Of course, today this thought goes deeper - much deeper - to the DNA and quantum level. 

Look at your business.  

Are you utilizing an accounting system, business intelligence, manufacturing/robotics or a sales force automation tool?  These tools are integral to your business operations and profitability - but have you lost touch with your clients too? 

In the old days, we sent handwritten heartfelt thank you notes after each appointment - in pen, signed.  For the most part, the only automated part of that process was the postage machine.  Today, thanks to the machines, we touch 100's or thousands of people every day, blanketing email servers all over the world automatically, without a care or human touch. 

Most sales people, managers, CEO's, and secretaries never need to worry about empathizing with someone over a life and death conversation, however, everyday functions have separated human beings to the point that the act of verbally asking someone for information is a rarity.  We ask the machine.

Will we humans be turned into technology or will technology be turned into humans?

In the end a more significant question is, will it even matter? 

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