Monday, April 14, 2014

THE TECH ELITE - Is this our biggest medical problem? (a rant)

In one sentence:  technical experts have reached guru status.  In one more sentence:  hospital computer programs are flashy, they are in style, they are "progress," that word that has led to wreckage in our country before. And hospital computer systems are bought in response to pressure.   Aren't hospital administrators and boards afraid of bucking "progress?"  Of being considered "past it?"

Selling the hospital a computer system is like selling a Maserati to a rich high school girl who is moving to Boston. It's a great sale if you can do it, but it's not what the girl needs.

Author/educator/artist  Debbie Millman quotes famous graphic designer Massimo Vignelli as saying: "'The purpose of marketing should be to find needs--not to find wants.'"

Needs.  Hospital computers have the same problem, in my opinion, as hospital wayfinding and other physical plant design:  the designer doesn't always know how to find out what the hospital --right down to the nurses and patients, needs.  Every day.  And the clients - board members and hospital administrators may not know the whole story of their hospital in depth.

I've blogged on doctors saying the electronics take away from patient time.  I've blogged on ANGIENADIA's article on how working around the computer's flaw takes more time from actual medicine.  

We have great nurses and doctors who are great with computers.  And some who've taken to it like ducks to water.  When the computer system works.

The rest of the world isn't great yet.  We have nurses who are not actually nursing while they run to get help with the computer.  Like that night one of my medications disappeared from the computer.  But read the ads:  Must be proficient in . . . . (insert name of any program or app you've never heard of.)

And that's the danger, in my opinion:   How many times has a nurse or administrator who knows computers been hired instead of a nurse or even a doctor who knows how the hospital really works?  And who is fabulous at treating patients?  

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