Medicine’s Problems Begin With Technology and End With the Art of Medicine

The pressure on today’s healthcare providers is insane. Technology is supposed to be the tool that saves healthcare. And it will if it can keep from killing all the patients and care providers first. Today’s healthcare professional is overloaded with technology and faces a treadmill existence where the “efficiency” screamed for by managed care and everyone else has come at the cost of loading the care providers with insane workloads and sicker and sicker patients.

In today’s hospital, only the near-dying get to be in a hospital. Patients who had their chest cracked open on Monday are home by mid-week. That leaves nurses, doctors, therapists and other heathcare workers burdened by incredibly sick patients who need lots of skilled care. Just what thos professionals are trained for, of course. The problem is that ALL of their pateints are like that and the care provider to patient ratios have gone down as the acuity levels of patients have gone up.

Sure, technology provides some hope. But the EMR is only as good as the people who use it and we are burning through them at an alarming rate. Patients are dying in hospitals needlessly every day and good people are getting blamed for the faults of a system out of control.

Technology has a huge role to play. But it has to help and not add to the burden of those already desperately overloaded. Healthcare technology should begin with the skilled care professionals and not with the technology providers looking to apply the answers that worked in other industries to healthcare. Healthcare is nightmarishly complex and a one-percent failure rate in healthcare technology is about 1,000 times too high if it’s you or someone you love in that bed.