I’m a technology nerd and early adopter while also a profound technology skeptic. My heart sings when communities of people solve problems that matter to them and theirs and then look for technology partners to automate and share their solutions. By community, I mean partnerships of people at the center of care (people, care partners, clinicians) and neighborhoods, counties and states.
Recently, I spent a few days with big data, technology, entrepreneurs, and healthcare under the big top of Health 2.0 in Palo Alto. CA – a relatively low-key festival of mostly entrepreneurs trying to sell big data and apps with the edge of worry about engaging patients in their data and products. I felt at home with my advocacy and community browsing new ideas and new uses for technology
The cool stuff wasn’t the products and toys, but the ingenuity and passion of the community/tech partnerships. Went to three inspiring sessions: At the Intersection of Technology and Public Health, a community in Jacksonville, FL, struggles to cut their high rate of bicycle and pedestrian injuries. This coalition of community government and advocacy groups partnered with Numina, hardware for real-time analysis of video feeds of person, vehicle and bicycle traffic, to find and correct risky flows and behaviors one site at a time. The communities around me could use such a partnership/tech model. Another pearl was the Children’s Integrated Center for Success (CICS), a community resource for families with members on the autism spectrum. This collaboration of families and professionals developed screening and assessment tools to pinpoint capabilities of people that can be used to manage disabilities in cognition, social and life skills. This health portrait then leads to personalized helpful services. Technology can help them digitize, automate, and scale their methods for use in other parts of the country. The third was the American Medical Association’s concern about clinician burnout and diminishing time for clinicians to spend with their patients. The AMA partnered with a program, MATTER, to create transformative Health Care Innovation and Technology. This program pairs clinicians, engineers, and business people to collaborate in design, funding, and building tools to help decrease the time needed for the electronic health record. All beautiful. Likely to make someone a fortune? Not likely. Difficult to get funding.
In each initiative, people at the center of care took burning health and wellness challenges in their lives, analyzed and solved the problems with stakeholders. These partnerships understood the details of need, of the context, and the clinician workflow and people’s life flow. They then brought in technology to refine the solutions, automate the process and help make sharing the solution more affordable for others. No smoke and mirrors here. Improving loved ones’ and neighbors’ lives!