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Someone Tell Mickey

February 15, 2008
by Travis Gathright
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We are well past the days where HIT doesn't get attention outside of the data center. These days, HIT gets lots of attention outside the walls of our Hospitals and Physician’s offices. In the past few years we’ve even gotten focus and budget dollars from the Department of the Health and Human Services a mention in several State of the Union addresses.

While the topic of HIT has made a long journey from the data center in the hospital basement to the Halls of the US Congress, it is clear to me, as of this week, the topic of HIT is not on the minds of the consumer. Do you know how I know? Disney is building a new “House of the Future” that doesn’t appear to address telemedicine. This is a house where the refrigerator that can tell you what items you need for a recipe and where every surface is a Microsoft Surface, yet… no mention of remote care. The house of the future will surely have some connection to the healthcare provider, someone tell Mickey.

While Mickey might be an odd barometer of consumer expectations, consumers undeniably have low expectations for things like better control of their personal health information, the ability to shop around, self-service convenience, and other benefits information technology can make reality. Consumers can drive change in healthcare. As IT Leaders, maybe it’s important to make sure our neighbors know what HIT can do for them, and not just our Executives, Clinicians, and Legislators.

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Comments

Thank you both very much for your insightful comments. Any connection between the home and the provider should certainly focus on supplementing the patient-provider relationship. If applied right, today's technology could be used to increase patient-provider interaction and bring them closer together without giving up as much of our precious time (but clearly not more precisous than ice cream). Home is where the heart is, and information technology used help people organize their preventative care programs in their can help keep that heart beating longer. We've all been using the Internet for a while now, and know how it can bring people closer together and we know its limitations in that arena. It will be interesting to see how this all develops. Being a fantasy-future-house, though, it sure would be cool to see a remote controlled robotic surgery kit folded and put under the bed like a Chuck Norris Total Gym. ha. Your comments are always welcome here in the future and thanks again!

Well if the fridge can tell you what you need for a recipe (and c'mon, how hard is that to figure out on your own?), then I suggest that Disney include a way for the house's inhabitants to know which medications they should take and when. Perhaps it would also tell you that you can't eat that grapefruit while you're taking a specific medication because it will disrupt the clearance of the drug.

As for the idea that the house should have a connection for telemedicine, (a la "House"), as a physician I still feel that there is no substitution for actually laying eyes & hands on a patient.

Now if only the freezer would close on you when you're going for 2nds of ice cream...

That freezer idea has merit mraleigh32! It does seem there is a role for IT to play in wired households - perhaps not to the telemedicine extreme, but maybe personal health records that remind inhabitants of preventative health visits and link to their doctor's office for scheduling or even systems that help families manage chronic diseases should have a place. Somehow, we have to figure out how to balance acute interventions with a focus on chronic disease management and preventative care. While IT may not be a healthcare resource economically available to all households, so long as the Disney team is conjuring up an ideal, I agree that it should at least be on the menu.

Thank you both very much for your insightful comments. Any connection between the home and the provider should certainly focus on supplementing the patient-provider relationship. If applied right, today's technology could be used to increase patient-provider interaction and bring them closer together without giving up as much of our precious time (but clearly not more precisous than ice cream). Home is where the heart is, and information technology used help with things like preventative care, can help keep it beating longer. Being a fantasy-future-house, though, it sure would be cool to see a remote controlled robotic surgery kit folded and put under the bed like a Chuck Norris Total Gym. ha. Your comments are always welcome here in the future and thanks again!

Travis Gathright

CIO and Corporate Compliance Officer, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia

@travisgathright

As CIO, Travis Gathright's responsibilities include IT strategic planning,...