Saturday, April 24, 2010

Obsolescence

I had the pleasure of reading this article right at the end of last year, and it is one that I continually bring and up and send on to folks.  10 obsolete technologies to kill in 2010 by Mike Elgan : orignially appearing in Computerworld (somehow Google brings up the Macworld version first. This article touches on once useful technologies that have outlasted their usefulness and have better, cheaper alternatives.  Nowhere are these thoughts more prevalent than in Medicine.  I recall early 2010, late at night working in the Emergency room, having to fax a signed document to a clinic to receive one piece of information about a patient that they had forgotten. 
Fax.... in 2010!  We are past the foreboding dates of two Arthur C. Clarke novels and still have to put up with faxing!

Along the same lines, I read this intersting historical fact today in Meet Marty Cooper - the inventor of the mobile phone at BBC News: "Handheld phones were originally produced to help doctors and hospital staff improve their communications.  Amazing, given that we are just about the only profession that still uses beepers! At some institutions, on weekend coverage, physicians have to carry multiple pagers, until recently necessitating a "pager bucket" to carry them.  

It is curious that our industry needs massive government spending to "incentivize" electronic medical technology.  What is it about health care that causes it to defy useful technology so? 







 

2 comments:

Mike said...

Wait, you actually still use beepers??? I thought that was just on TV drama shows. There's not a whole lot of technological leap going from beepers to SMS, what's holding back your hospital from switching to SMS?

Andrew Schutzbank said...

Basically, health care exists in the bizzaro world where technology is expensive and therefore bad, the way we have done things in the past is good, and to change anything requires an act of God. Kind of like the government that funds health care.