Eagerly awaiting disruption.
WAY BACK IN THE MID-1970S, MY PARents and I ran an errand to our bank. I prepared to wait in the long line of customers for a teller. My parents made a sharp turn toward a shiny machine in a corner of the foyer.
“We use this all the time,” my dad said. “Much faster, no lines.” That was an ATM, and it wasn’t too long before I followed my parents’ lead and went with the new technology that saved time and made life easier.
Technology in healthcare is in a similar place today. It’s ready to disrupt the way things have always been done. It’s not just that it’s cool, or that someone’s forcing you to use it. It’s now offering clinicians the chance to accomplish things and to learn things that can be achieved in no other way.
Digital disruption is just beginning to make an impact in healthcare, writes contributing editor John Morrissey in his story, which begins on Page 14. Through the use of technology such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, remote patient monitoring and more, providers are seeing changes—read improvements—in the way their able to deliver care.
These new uses of technology are disrupting common notions of healthcare, counteracting some of the negative perceptions that some clinicians may have felt about information technology to date, says Lyle Berkowitz, MD, a medical informaticist and IT entrepreneur based in Chicago.
Leading the charge to these radical uses of technology in healthcare are a new wave of technology leaders who are taking a fresh look at ways in which that IT can impact healthcare. Starting on Page 18, our editors highlight some of the rising stars who are finding new ways to incorporate IT into improving patient care.
New technology is particularly making an impact in how patients’ conditions are monitored by clinicians. With financial pressure rising to get patients out of acute care facilities and into less expensive settings, providers must be able to check on vital signs and other indications of health to be able to intervene before patient conditions worsen. Technology is enabling that, and starting on Page 20, Linda Wilson describes how new monitoring devices and the Internet of Things is closely connecting doctors and their patients.
Another emerging technology, blockchain, is piquing the interest of technologists in healthcare. Already in wide use in the financial industry, blockchain is being studied to see how it can be used in healthcare. Managing Editor Greg Slabodkin looks at the current state of blockchain in healthcare in an article beginning on Page 37. It’s still early, he notes, and much work remains before blockchain impacts the way that we store and secure clinical records.
In many ways, healthcare is ready for digital disruption. We look forward to covering the ways in which technology will change the face of healthcare and bring new insights to clinicians who want the best tools available to care for their patients. We hope that you’re ready for some disruption as well.