News Bites: John Halamka on the Future of Health Technology and Chris Gibbons on Reducing Health IT Disparities

This post originally appeared on the Project HealthDesign Blog.

Libby Dowdall, Communications Coordinator, Project HealthDesign National Program Office

We are honored to work with the various thought leaders who comprise our National Advisory Committee. This week, don’t miss these new articles from two of our advisers:

John Halamka, M.D., M.S., on “The Rise of Electronic Medicine” in Technology Review

Halamka shares five major developments in health, health care and health technology he expects to occur in the next five years.

“Less expensive cloud-based software, combined with tablet computers, will unleash a wave of software innovation. Until very recently, innovation in medical IT has depended upon the development schedules of a few very large vendors who sell hospital systems with $100 million price tags. In the future, electronic health records will become increasingly modular, similar to the online app stores where consumers download games or programs for their phones. Imagine a cool new app that provides a dashboard for diabetics, showing their daily glucose readings and sounding an alert if they aren’t managing their disease well.”

“In my parents’ generation, doctors were considered largely infallible, and the medical record was something owned and viewed only by clinicians. Today, with credible medical knowledge available on the Internet and electronic records allowing doctors and patients to view the same data, joint decision making is becoming more commonplace. Research shows that shared decision making between doctor and patient results in better outcomes.”

Read more.

Chris Gibbons, M.D., M.P.H., shares “Response to Feds” on the Healthcare Disparities Solutions Blog

Gibbons responds to a request for comments on the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Federal Strategic Plan to Reduce Health IT Disparities.

“Rather than seeking a ‘magic pill’ or single set of policies/practices/programs that can ‘solve’ the problem for all, we need people, policies and programs that educate, encourage and support every provider, healthcare professional, hospital , patient and caregiver to consider their role in the generation or elimination of disparities. When this tipping point is reached, momentum will inevitably propel the policy, practice, regulatory and IT innovation that will be needed to successfully achieve the vision of an equitable healthcare system and health outcomes.”

“If all we do is use Health IT to improve what occurs in the traditional clinical encounter, without addressing patient/caregiver interaction between encounters through Health IT, we are unlikely to sustain patient engagement efforts, improve provider-patient communication or reduce disparities, particularly over the long term.”

Read more.