From data to EHRs, clinician offers 'modest technology agenda'

While big data, electronic health records and patient engagement tools are seen as the big solutions to improving healthcare, there are more modest goals clinicians eye to provide better care, says Gurpreet Dhaliwal, a staff physician at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Gurpreet, in a post for the Wall Street Journal, offers a "modest technology agenda" that he, as a front-line clinician, hopes to use to do his job better. The agenda includes:

  • Using good data, instead of just big data. Massive data sets don't often help to change a practice, he writes. What clinicians need is constant access to study findings; synopses that have already been confirmed and scrutinized. In May, Jason McNamara, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services senior technical director of Medicaid health IT, said the industry needs to "keep challenging the data, keep asking questions."
  • When it comes to electronic health records, the tools need to be used not just for documentation and billing, but also to help clinicians learn, Gurpreet says. EHRs should make it easy for doctors to answer quick questions about how their patients are doing, as well as to schedule reminder emails about notes and labs for specific patients.
  • Getting updates from patients should be as easy as sending an email or setting up a videoconference, Gurpreet adds. There is "the outdated emphasis on face-to-face visits," he says, and electronic communication makes it easy to see patients more often.

"It is more important to be connected to your healthcare provider than it is to be connected to your Fitbit," he writes.

One healthcare provider, Cleveland Clinic, is taking the promise of telemedicine in stride. The health system is working on the deployment of a telemedicine service tapping mobile devices to provide patients a virtual consultation within minutes.

In addition, from clinicians like Gurpreet to nurses and other providers, roles in the healthcare industry are changing because of technology and these changes require that all players become tech-savvy.

To learn more:
- here's the WSJ article

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