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The Way We Communicate Now

February 10, 2011
by John DeGaspari
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Moving toward a private cloud model so clinicians can communicate on their own terms, while giving hospitals a measure of control

Social media and new mobile devices are having a huge impact on the way people communicate with each other every day, and it’s no less true among hospitals, doctors and patients. That opens up exciting opportunities, enabling patients to take a more active role in their health. But it also puts extra infrastructure demands on hospitals—even large organizations—that must be able to maintain secure and accessible communications both within and outside their walls.

I recently had a conversation about that challenge with Paul Conocenti, vice president and vice dean at NYU-Langone Medical Center in New York. In his view, the prospect of mobility, cloud computing and global communications means that hospitals have to be highly effective in communicating both internally and outside the organization, whether regionally or globally. He says hospitals will have to move fast to keep up as more devices are finding their way into people’s hands. Younger physicians don’t communicate the traditional way, and many are on Facebook and are avid users of social networks, he says.

Conocenti notes that the combination of mobile devices and cloud computing is a daunting challenge to those charged with balancing security with accessibility. NYU-Langone has followed a strategy of a private cloud model that offers users a way to communicate on their own terms, while giving the hospital a measure of control.

That has dovetailed with the medical center’s mandate to connect with affiliated providers. “Our strategy is to connect communities,” Conocenti says. As a major academic medical center, NYU-Langone has made significant investments in its infrastructure, he says. “We are making these solutions available to our affiliate physicians who are part of our community.” Its infrastructure investments it has made are a viable option for affiliated providers that need to have better connectivity with each other outside the hospital walls.

 

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Comments

John,
Great and highly relevant post.

One dimension that you didn't highlight is that social media can and often will actively highlight and publish information about us. For example, in a recent LinkedIn search, I could easy see who was recently forming connections, recent favorite reads from other people's interactions with Amazon, and other information that I'll group as comings and goings.

Younger generations realize and often often welcome this active social connecting that, in practical terms, can be out of our control without deliberate counter-measures. And, those counter-measures are often discordant with the spirit and value of social media, which often includes "giving away your best insights." That's certainly the difference between smart bloggers and smart folks who deliberately choose to self-insulate from social media and not blog.

So your post, especially those fading yet complicated distinctions between affiliates, security, transparency, and accessibility, are critical not only to Paul's effectiveness, but to everyones!  Thanks for sharing the conversation.

John DeGaspari

Managing Editor

John DeGaspari

www.healthcare-informatics.com

John DeGaspari is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience reporting and writing about...