Digital Health

Accelerating the Digital Doctor

Digital doctor using tablet


In this episode of the Accelerate Health podcast, host Indu Subaiya, MD, MBA, co-founder and president, Catalyst @ Health 2.0; senior advisor, HIMSS, discusses the evolution of modern technology challenges and successes over the past five years with Bob Wachter, MD, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and author of The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age.

The conversation begins with a look back for Dr. Wachter during the time that became his inspiration for writing The Digital Doctor. A time where advances in technology for other industries were thriving yet the rollout of new technologies within healthcare was frustrating and slow. He speaks to the level of difficulty in the transition from analog to digital medicine; that although originally gave him a negative point of view, his outlook shifted. After over 100 interviews with healthcare stakeholders over the course of a year, that it wasn’t a matter of IF technology would help advance healthcare, it was only a matter of WHEN and BY WHOM.

Dr. Wachter talks about how the healthcare industry should demand the same expectations and level of ease/service of big EHR providers that they would of any tech company. Doctors and nurses are just beginning to reap the benefits of machines as they begin to finally display their value.

He also emphasizes that the first wave of healthcare digitization was getting EHRs and cohesive systems into doctor offices and hospitals to create a digital scaffolding for all of healthcare. However, the next wave is going to be far more interesting, far more diverse. It will focus on the weaving together of those EHRs, with all sorts of tools that are developed by third-party vendors or digital giant. The need to qualify this technology will be instrumental to engaging the patient.

He reflects on the effectiveness of public health systems in relation to the current COVID-19 crisis and the importance of cross-collecting data from multiple sources The conversation closes with a look at the difference in responses to the COVID-19 crisis through the lens of different geographic areas (San Francisco vs. Los Angeles) and occupations (i.e., athletes) and how they navigated success and challenges differently.

The views and opinions expressed in this content or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

Accelerate Health

It’s time for a bold approach to healthcare innovation. Get comfortable being uncomfortable with Accelerate Health: an innovation-focused content and connectivity platform from HIMSS that walks the cutting edge of healthcare.

Embrace the power of bold thinking