Medical Info By Itself Means...Not a D*&^ Thing

Talking with @scanman on Twitter yesterday about my post, I realized that if you don't want to read the whole busy narrative (guilty as charged), there are a few vital signs you should note:

  • Medical information by itself doesn't mean a damn thing. This is why just having a comprehensive PHR platform won't smooth out the system. Current iterations aren't connected back to a patient's DAILY LIFE in a meaningful, relevant way that encourages us to be involved.
  • If clinical data isn't linked back to a patient, it's just letters and numbers. Apologies to all public health researchers.
  • Clinical data is only valuable as it relates to how a patient and physician, etc. make choices to preserve life and improve health. Who gives a flying duck if my blood pressure is high unless I choose to do something about it, my physician chooses to write me an Rx, etc.?
  • Medical data and decisions do NOT exist in a void, even though we treat them like they do. (Our practice of depersonalizing medicine has deep and twisted roots).
  • We won't have an efficient system until we kill the episodic 'dx and dispo' approach, OR at least find a way (like the ideal PHR) to link it VIA RELEVANCE back to the entire patient's personal health and wellness narrative. I believe strongly that the latter can be done. Nexthealth is working on that, as are many Health 2.0 firms.
  • Injuries, illnesses, treatments are not connected via relevance to a patient's daily life EXCEPT BY THE PATIENT (and the rare physician, caring Nurse Practitioner/PA, caregiver, etc) at this point - this has got to change.
And regarding the search example I posted yesterday "i found a lump in my breast what do i do?"...

That was tricky of me, since the answer is obvious: go see a doctor.

But does any search result currently tell us to do that? No. And we don't expect it to. We expect online resources to link us only to other online resources. We anticipate that real-world sources of information will link us only to real world resources.

But that's a limiting, outdated viewpoint.

Connecting people online and offline is a mission of Nexthealth - we're finding often the solutions and tools needed to work towards semantic interoperability are a mashup of 'virtual' and 'brick and mortar' solutions, which need to be tied together so consumers can 'dip' in and out of the system, online and offline, at will.

If we had a search engine technology that enabled us to perform DECISION-based search, or search coded in a way that enhances results rather than occludes meaning, the result would look something like this....

If you're concerned about what to do next regarding a health issue, consider seeing a doctor.

If we had a search engine technology that enabled us to perform DECISION-SUPPORT search, the next step in those results might be a FUNCTION rather than an informational link. So the next result might look something like this...

What would you like to DO next?
  • Chat with a physician online? (American Well)
  • Schedule an appointment with a doctor? (ZocDoc.com)
  • Read how other patients have rated the doctors you are considering? (you get the point).
  • Would you like to check out technology-friendly physicians near you in Williamsburg, NYC? Try Hello Health, or ZocDoc.com.

Gotta go catch my plane to Boston - see you in Toronto!

1 comment:

Haloman said...

Update: Read how other patients have rated the doctors you are considering? (www.ratemymd.ca).