Fast Company

How Emergency Medicine Could Serve As An Inspiration To The Health Care Industry

It's no secret that the health care industry is technologically backwards. With very few exceptions, patients are forced to navigate a system that lacks any kind of central coordination, and where records and test results are left to the mercy of fax machines. But there is one area in the health care industry where care is patient-centric, quick, and well-coordinated: the emergency room.

Minneapolis-based design firm Worrell debuted a video at last week's Body Computing Conference that illustrates how principles from the ER can improve the patient care experience in the broader health care industry. One idea: a technology-based nurse line that allows patients to show--not tell--their symptoms using a diagnostic kit containing a camera, thermometer, blood pressure cuff, EKG, and more, all from the comfort of their home.

It's the kind of idea that could cut down on emergency room visits (and accompanying costs), make health providers more effective, and empower patients to take control of their care. And the diagnostic kit could at least be partially paid for with savings from reduced ER trips. What are we waiting for? If any industry could use a design makeover, it's health care.

[Images: Worrell]

Reach Ariel Schwartz via Twitter or email.

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