Is Medicine a Stone-Age Industry?

This is the question that I was asking myself today when I read the recent USA today article, “Hospitals lose $8.3 billion using old technology”:

U.S. physicians and hospitals are in the digital dark ages when it comes to using the latest mobile devices and Internet services to deliver patient care. As a result, U.S. hospitals are absorbing an estimated $8.3 billion annual hit in lost productivity and increased patient discharge times, according to a Ponemon Institute survey of 577 health care professionals.

Why is it so hard for an industry built on science and technology, and service to the public to adopt technology?

An example cited in the article is the discharge of a patient:

The study, sponsored by tech security firm Imprivata, shows that clinicians waste an average of 46 minutes per day waiting for patient information. The main reasons: reliance on inefficient pagers, no Wi-Fi access, deficient e-mail and bans on use of personally owned devices.

Now, I understand the need for patient privacy, but banks handle my financial information, airlines know my seat preferences, hotels my bed preference … do I need to go on?

Clearly this is an area that needs some better thinking.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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