Doctors do three basic things. In their role as healers, they make decisions, they do procedures and they communicate with patients as a source of information and guidance.
The 4th industrial revolution and the digitization of sickcare, powered by the technologies and forces of global cyberintelligence and the emerging cyber nervous system have radically altered how doctors do their jobs.
Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) powered by artificial intelligence and other data science techniques significantly improves outcomes in several specialty areas. Studies of CDSS indicate improvement in preventive services, appropriate care, and clinical and cost outcomes with strong evidence for CDSS effectiveness in process measures. Increasing provider adherence to CDSS recommendations is essential in improving CDSS effectiveness, and factors that influence adherence are currently under study.
Robotics, AI, virtual reality, augmented reality and smart ORs are transforming the operative experience for both surgical teams and patients.
Even communicating medical information, expressing empathy and guiding patients towards the right decision for them and their family members has become digitized towards more high tech and less high touch. Over 70 years ago psychologist Alfred Adler famously described empathy as “seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another”. Technology has now advanced to the point that it can be used to help people have greater empathy for one another.
That said, forces are creating a counter movement of patient customers craving trusted intermediaries.
- Clinical care is increasing in complexity making it more difficult to sort out the details
- The pace of change is happening faster than the ability of people to cope with it causing change fatigue and diseases of despair
- Social media has contributed to the death of expertise
- Clinical care has evolved from one on one to a team collaborative effort whereby medical care teams work with patient and family support teams and communities
- Sick care is migrating gradually to health care and disease prevention
- Both patients and doctors are struggling to become data literate to understand the meaning and avoid the pitfalls of what comes from the internet of medical things
- Patients are fed up with the lack of personalized service and terrible user and purchasing experiences while, the same time, having to do more of the work to create more profit for the seller.
- While personalized/precision medicine is the latest techno-rage, the corporatization and consolidation of BIG MEDICINE leads to more impersonalization of small care
- The invisible hand is a cruel one, creating significant inequalities in outcomes and health opportunities, leaving many stranded and reaching for a hand up, even when they are too young or small to do so.
- Social isolation, behavioral disorders, frustration, violence and burn out are pervasive
The future of the sick care workforce will be about educating and training a high touch one, migrating knowledge technicians to strategic thinkers and creating graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset. Here are the principles of medical education reform.
Despite being able to buy or research almost any service or product on the internet, people still use wealth managers, plan trips using travel agents and hire service professionals. Some even still trust regular taxi drivers and doctors to safely transport them on their care journey.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD.