In the latest episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I sat down with Dr. Donald Rucker, National Coordinator at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC Health IT). We explored all things medical and clinical informatics and “Health IT.” Among other things, we dived into the role of Health IT in advancing clinical innovation and healthcare quality and delivery, and how the pandemic has affected its uptake.
Here is a preview of our discussion:
Q: As you have been merging the two together, what commonalities did you find between medicine and computers?
A: I think, as everybody in medicine knows, it is a vastly data-intensive activity that is sort of a natural fit for computers. I would say, in a very broad notional way, we are halfway there, in a funny kind of way. I think we have the data part of it. I think we understand that. We have lots of electronic medical records. We are capturing data. We would argue about what the data being captured, and there are some perverse economic incentives on much of the data being captured.
In the big broad picture, we have gotten the data part of it. What we haven’t gotten, which was really the real part that I wanted to do what we’re still pushing, is when I was an internal resident, what bugged me was the amount of useless activity I engaged in. I would call it “sub-clerical,” it really didn’t require any human abilities. Fundamentally, it just required automation. I would say we have fallen way short of automation in healthcare. They are little bits and pieces of it.
The data we have and the automation is yet to happen. It will happen one way or the other when you look at the internet of things, the networks, the bandwidth, and the tools, it will happen. That is where I think we are. It has taken way longer than I ever guessed. I had no idea that healthcare would be so economically sticky to the perverse incentives that federal policies have created that it would take this long…
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Donald Rucker, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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