Advancing ‘Social’ Technology Improves Healthcare

With technology you have access to information on just about anything and you can collaborate on a myriad of projects and tasks across the globe. Yet, we have virtually no access let alone involvement in our own personal health information and management?

Doctor Leslie Saxon, Chief Cardiologist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine envisions a medical system where patients and doctors become partners in health management.  As Founder of the Dallas CPR Classes and Center for Body Computing, an innovation think tank dedicated to wireless health Saxon believes that advancing digital tools in the medical industry could make tracking heart rate and blood pressure as simple as opening an app on your iPhone or checking your e-mail.

Many patients today, particularly those with cardiovascular distress, are provided implanted digital devices that track heart rate, blood pressure and sense abnormalities.  The information stored on that device however can currently only be read when the patient comes to the hospital to ‘download’.  After which all information is review by a physician and not made available to the patient.  A costly and inefficient system.  Saxon, has taken that technology one step further by partnering with medical device developers to add the ability to access the readings from implanted devices on mobile devices.  Basically, you and your doctor can get real time information anytime and anywhere.  It would be like having an office visit everyday and a complete physical every week without the considerable cost and time.  The data available could predict future injury and allow for preventative action customized to the individual.

The possibilities are endless.  Saxon is also working with BMW to develop a heart rate sensor within the cars steering wheel that will check the drivers vital signs.  Imagine, you get into the car, you are stressed and exhausted, the biometric readout in the car senses this and automatically plays calming music!

The Kingbridge Insight this week is taken from a well known principle of adult education which is that an adult learner requires engagement in both the learning process and the establishment of outcomes.  Lecturing and giving orders without providing the why is rarely effective.  Learning and development professionals have known this for decades and have made great strides in reforming organizational learning.  So why has medicine not done the same?  The doctors hold all the information and serve down dietary restrictions, exercise orders and make out prescriptions without providing adequate information to the patient as to why this is necessary and more importantly without involving the patient in the decision making process, and then are baffled as to why so many patients don’t follow these regimens they have been assigned.  That is not to say the doctors are to blame, the system is flawed.  We know this, and Einstein said it best when he so wisely described insanity as continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.