It is amazing to think about the ways in which technology has propelled health care forward. Twenty years ago, my family physician had a PalmPilot with this fancy new program called Epocrates–this was cutting edge technology. Today, we all walk around with mini-computers in our hands that not only give us access to the entirety of the medical literature, but also our patients’ records at our fingertips and also the score of the Packers’ game from last night so you know what kind of mood Mr. Miller in Room 32 will be in this morning.
I am excited to see how health information technology will continue to shape the care we provide our patients, detecting real-time opportunities to prevent adverse patient outcomes. While some dismiss algorithm-driving medicine as “cookbook,” I think it frees us to do what we as physicians are trained to do–synthesize data through a filter of our experiences while connecting to the humanity of each person we have the privilege to treat.
It hurts to know that we currently practice in a system “perfectly designed to get the results it gets,” full of factors that threaten the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. But I am confident that with effort of all members of the health care team continuing to push the boundaries on how we leverage technology and nurture humanity, we can make our system “more perfect.”