Watching the Summer Olympics
this past week has prompted an odd mix of emotions—from the awe of technology
that can capture a hundredth of a second difference (under water at that) in
swimmers to the disbelief of bad form in badminton players. Events in London brought to mind the
conversation we so often hear on “technology” being blamed for dumbing down the human decision making. My
take on both health care and the Olympics is the same. The answer is not in how much sophisticated
technology or training we might have access to.
It is how we use what we have
at our disposal.
Along the same lines, opinions vary on the usefulness of
“clinical decision support” within electronic health records. Some warn that allowing a computer to make
our decisions for us will prompt a brain drain of necessary abilities to
diagnose. Is that really the problem? Does having access to anytime, all-the-time,
24/7 search options on the web decrease our ability to remember? Hardly.
It has to do with keeping the goal in sight, taking criticism with some
thought but not personally and completing the task at hand—while allowing no
compromise on integrity. While there are
a multitude of constraints which mold our actions and uphold responsibility
(after all, the badminton players were disqualified for their behavior)—it
should come down to doing what is right. Too “Goody Two Shoes”? Maybe—but perspective becomes more important
as challenges and distractions occur. In
short, adoption of technology in health care is difficult—but success is in
sight. We all need to see that perseverance pays off.