Hey, Stupid, What’s the Top Healthcare Priority?


Yes, obesity, cancer, diabetes, depression…all top priorities, of course: if you or someone you love has any, it’s your priority.

And yet: the economy – the integration of the capital, the labor, the infrastructure, the legislative branches – is the core pumper of the circulation of health care.

If our capital system continues to weaken, we are going to have a rough time advancing healthcare into the 21st Century.

Health is Economy, Economy is Health. Just as our bodies are complex systems of ecosystems, our economies are complex systems of ecosystems.

For the last several years, we have been involved in the greatest recession since the 1930s. But…

…but the big bad stuff is heading our way.

The American capital system is chillingly close to collapse: Financial Capital is far in excess of Productive Capital. Enormous piles of growing financial capital sit right next to enormous growing swaths of unemployed labor. The differential is so great, that when it snaps – catastrophically snaps – the ensuing calamity in itself will be a healthcare crisis: more spikes in unemployment, new crime waves, the final demise of a middle class – the Brazilifcation of America in other words.

If you have any interest in healthcare – whether as a provider or technologist or device-maker or marketer – consider well the times we live in, for the challenge coming is dire.

If you have any doubts about the health of our economy, look at the picture at the topic of this post [image link]. Also read this.

I know, I know – I’m depressing you.

So that I’m not the messenger of nothing but bad news, I’d like to offer these thoughts on what can be done:

  • Technological advances may not be enough to grow GDP, but those technologies which streamline point-of-care and shrink the gaps among all points of care might be the best investments.
  • Start a campaign promoting the economic superiority of manual labor. Yep: manual labor. What do you think health care is? Manual labor is mind-body work. We misinterpreted what the Information Age means: it’s not about letting your body go, it’s about informing your mind on how to get your body to work smarter. Think: soon, everybody in the world can do what you do via computers. What will set us apart? An advanced economy depends on robust labor. If I’ve lost you, watch this.
  • Health care education needs a re-look (by this, I’m referring to the provider side, although the consumer side clearly needs investment). The Nursing and Medical professions are critical. I don’t care what people say about Watson (and I sing its praises), we need human brains and human hearts. Academic, Healthcare and Government organizations need a council to address how to allocate capital (real capital, not more debt) to healthcare eduction.
  • Local approaches to healthcare problems need investment.

It’s all overwhelming and disparaging, yes.

The fact is, however, that over the last 40-50 years, we indulged thrills at the expense of our future. These indulgences were both economic and health in nature

  1. We Americans worked more than we played. And when we played, we weren’t present in the moment. We already were showing signs of indiscipline
  2. Our increasing consumption of sugar – in all its forms – set us on a positive-feedback loop. The American Dream morphed into something far more devastating than herion addiction. If there was one single independent variable that could dramatically reduce financial and human health care costs, it would be sugar. (My opinion…considered as it is.)
  3. We fell into the entertainment trap. See #1. Our increasing addiction to distraction from boring jobs – coupled with the proliferation of television and other media – diverted capital from needed sectors (like Healthcare).
  4. We failed to see Health as a national security threat. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it didn’t have far to fall – plus the citizens were used to living in harsh circumstances…and many knew how to draw substance from the land. We, on the other hand, have much farther to fall…and our disconnection from land, ourselves and our bodies won’t help.

We can’t change the past. But knowing that we can’t – knowing that we screwed up – at least gives us the opportunity to accept the facts.

What can you do?

Here are my personal recommendations:

  • Know your spiritual center (spirituality is different from religion). Value bread, but feed your stamina for hunger.
  • Meditate. (Meditation is like Twitter, except the opposite.) If you’re new, you can start here. If you’ve a taste for something more Western, give this a shot. Or, you can just sit for ten minutes and pay attention to your breathing, paying close attention to how your mind doesn’t pay attention. Try it. It’s a discipline – weather you’re religious (either Orthodox or Gnostic) or agnostic or a-theistic. Unlike any costly medical device, you can meditate anywhere, anytime…bonus: you’re gonna die one day, so learn how to unlearn all that seriousness cluttering your view.
  • Imagine the end of the world, at least once a day. Then look at all that’s right in front of you.

Cheers, stupid!

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


Are You A 21st Century Health Care Leader?

Do you care?

Do you learn something new everyday?

Are you confused about our time?

Do you have a sense of humor?

Do you believe health care is a right or an earned asset?

Have you ever imagined what it’s like to die in pain?

Do you prefer to be right or wrong?

When was the last time you started a community centerred around health care?

If I Googled your name, would I find you in the top three results?

If I found you on Google – anywhere – what would I learn about you?

If I can’t find you on Google, where are you?

Is Twitter trivial or relevant in health care?

What about Facebook? Good for health care? Bad?

What have you written publicly about the nuances involved in healthcare and social media?

What are you thoughts on the Quantified Self?

If you could build the Healthcare industry from scratch, what would be your first priority? Your second? Your third? Your last?

What are your thoughts on paper versus electronic medical records?

What’s your philosophy on how social and other digital technologies shape health care?

If you don’t have a philosophy about technology, what are your plans for navigating through the Century of Technology?

Do you think it’s acceptable for nursing homes to smell like garbage? Or is that par-for-the course in Healthcare?

Do you feel stupid about health care reform?

Do you thirst after knowledge like water in a desert?

What does health mean to you?

Have you ever commented on a blog, forum or anywhere else on anything related to health care?

What does “blogging” mean to you? Waste of time? Or a sign of 21st Century excellence in communication?

How do you feel about curse words?

Following up to the previous question: if you never ever curse in public, how do I know you’re passionate about health care? Or anything for that matter?

If someone is terminally dying (hours, days from death) and asks for more morphine, how fast or slow would you run it in?

Would I ask you to help in a code, or kick you out of the room?

Do you have a mechanical view of the world, or an organic one?

What do health care leaders do, in your view?

What does “health care transformation” mean? Useless buzz-phrase, or something to work on?

What matters to you most in health care?

Following up on the previous question: what are you doing about it right now, this moment?




Turn On, Tune In and Take Charge

And now a simple meme for healthcare: Turn On, Tune In and Take Charge.

This isn’t my variation on Timothy Leary’s Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, it’s his (54min, 10sec).

It applies to:

  • The Status Quo organizations that need to abandon the 19th Century model of factory-healthcare and turn on to human systems
  • The nurses, physicians, administrators, healthcare communicators who need to re-tool their skills and tune in to today’s media
  • All of us who need to take charge of our Healthcare as much as we can

Twitter is the Sixties – everyday, more and more people are electronically heading to San Fransisco.

Some folks will expand their minds hitting the good tweets, while others will lose themselves, spending their days scrounging for the next retweet; and still others will ignore it all, missing the chance to bring color to their black-and-white views and thoughts and ways. This is our time, our new world.

The response to this brave media world isn’t to turn on, tune in and drop out.

It’s: Turn on, tune in, and take charge.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial


Is Technology Stripping Humanity Out of Healthcare?

iPad 2. EMR. Tweeting medical devices. Diseased-based social networks. Augmented surgical procedures.

Healthcare has always been a technologically-dependent field. In fact, healthcare is technology.

There is in the provision of healthcare, however, Technology’s sibling: Art.

Technology is about being. Art is about feeling.

In healthcare, technology is about being alive, while art is about feeling alive.

When a nurse or a physician is so engrossed in the technological aspect of care – auscultation is a technique and therefore a technology – that he forgets that there’s a human being before him, this is the loss of art.

If you were to work out the ultimate trend of technology in healthcare if left all to itself, you’ll see a depreciation of the need for human involvement.

But we know – intuitively – that the human brain and ear and eye bring together a certain a quality lacking in even the most advanced technologies.

That quality is art. Art is what happens when human beings express what they feel.

The ultimate “agenda” of technology is the elimination of the human. Except…

…Except that, paradoxically, humans possess the one technology which can rescue art from technology: the Question Mark.

It’s that one simple technology which has always advanced healthcare and science and civilization and…art.

Yes, technology will strip humanity out of healthcare, unless we vigilantly practice the art of the question.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter





Why I Became A Nurse

Regular readers may know me as the guy who looks at the intersection of social software and Healthcare. I’m on the Advisory Board for Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. I created the first Twitter chats for clinicians. I wrote about Twitter in Healthcare when most people never knew what “a” Twitter was. Yada yada yada. (This post is all about ME by the way – so much so that it’s about YOU.)

What you probably don’t know about me is that there was once a time I never really cared much about Healthcare.

As a matter of fact, I long felt that the industry was totally weird: bad customer service; an industry full of smart people doing stupid things and following arcane rules; a paradox of care and of selfish personalities; an industry (mis)-led by less-than-average-intelligence busineses funding dopey marketing campaigns. (I still feel that way, but please keep that confession on the down-low.)


Long before I became a nurse, I bought into a lot of the sad stereotypes about nursing: it was a “chick” profession; dudes who got into nursing were probably gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that!); and that nursing was a pretty straight-forward profession of good-hearted people doing work that wasn’t very sophisticated.

Now, these weren’t strong beliefs – it wasn’t something I gave much thought: mostly the product of an ignorant culture spreading ignorant memes.

I never ever thought I’d become a nurse. If you told me years ago that I’d become one, I’d be in total disbelief. Being a nurse was the last thing I’d even consider.

Before becoming a nurse I held a financially successful career in corporate enterprise. I graduated with a degree in accounting and did stuff like financial reporting and management and SAP implementation. I even helped to organize the effort to raise $2 Billion in capital for a public utility that needed to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And emerge from bankruptcy it did.

Reflecting on that time now, I was so young, so emboldened by curiosity, so eager to learn from the ‘elder’ business leaders. I was lucky to be thrown into the fire by gray-haired executives who took a chance on the next generation. I was the golden boy. I had a promising corporate future.

But one day I decided to just walk away from the corporate world. Oh it wasn’t just a spontaneous thing. Many things were brewing in my head about where the future would offer us.

One thing I knew, though, was that the fruits of the 21st Century weren’t going to go to the corporate professionals. The job mentality was a soul-trap.

I thought the fruits would go to those fearless envelope-pushers who kept on changing careers – those who thirsted tirelessly for knowledge and experience and freedom.

So when I walked away from it all and boarded a flight to Florida with my wife and friends, I had NO idea what I was going to do. None. Zilch.


Then the Towers fell.

The nation was in shock. A collective PTSD and Depression descended on America (it still hasn’t recovered).

911 made it clear to me that our problems as a tenuous Republic were mostly health-related. And that in the dead-center of the terror-fire were the true heros: the nurses, the doctors, the counselors, the social workers, the firefighters, the loved ones of those murdered into char and powder that blue blue blue day.

It occurred to me that our main National Security Concern was health. An unhealthy culture is a dangerous and weak culture. It will die, wallowing in its own addiction to self-destruction, breaking the hearts of those who once loved it.

Long-story-to-short: Nursing appeared on the radar and I decided to go to nursing school. I wanted hard work. I wanted work that required a re-wiring of my brain. Work that required the endurance to sacrifice self.

And I knew then, intuitively, that nursing wasn’t about just being a “caring” person. I knew it meant both cleaning up excrement while understanding the complexity of multiple systems of the human body.


Right now, I have absolutely no idea what my life would be if I never became a nurse.

But I’m glad I took the plunge, the journey to a difficult place.

I’m glad I was there when that young mother of three died and her youngest lost her mind jumping on top of her mother’s body in grief. “MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY, WAKE UP!!!!”

Glad?? Why glad? Because I was there to witness this child’s pain and to give silent comfort. The young residents and busy nurses there just didn’t know what to do – or just froze – so I tapped into my fresh nursing intuition and fearlessness. It was like stepping out of my body in order to calmly hold the kid’s spirit within to keep it from leaving to a dark place. A moment like that can make or break a life.

I wasn’t glad at the time – later that day I shut myself in the linen closet, broke down and wept myself into momentary insanity like never before nor since. But that’s life – it sucks, but together we can do small things that make big differences.

My heart breaks anytime I’m reminded that I too once held the stereotypes held against nurses.

Nurses are still treated poorly – oh, yes, they have respect and people will praise them – but deep down, there’s a systemic prejudice against nurses that may just be America’s Achilles Heel.

I left bedside nursing for several reasons.

But I never left nursing. What I do now is to keep a vow to help this marvelous but misunderstood profession.


For decades I’ve known that social networks would take over the world.

For decades I’ve known that technology would eventually infiltrate our lives – for good and ill.

I’ve always been an outsider.  Always will be. And so should you. You see things others miss.

This blog is ultimately a way for me to expand nursing’s role. Not into the turf of physicians. Nursing and medicine are different but utterly complementary disciplines.

Rather, nursing needs to expand from the bedside to the Web. What I do is my attempt to do something not quite done before. And I just hope every day I’m doing it right. A new kind of nurse in the making perhaps.

The Web has opened the doors of perception and collaboration and communication and new kinds of creativity.

It’s why I created RNchat, and then later MDchat – because I could. Because I saw that it was needed. Something never done before. I didn’t need anybody’s permission. You can do that with the Web.

It’s why I’ve connected with Healthcare marketers and HIT peeps anybody with a good brain to learn as much as I can from digital marketing agencies. Marketing is everything – especially in Healthcare.

This social media stuff – most of it is rubbish frankly. I mean that. Still, there’s a portion of it that’s very very important.

And it’s the important stuff – like understanding how these media are influencing our lives and their proper roles – which absolutely fascinates me. This is where the nursing perspective is sorely needed.

There aren’t many people right now who bring a nursing perspective to it all. Not enough artists either. There’s too many marketers parroting and misleading each other who should reconsider their own professional trajectory. It’s a weird world some of them might be making.

Not all this social media is good – the next big wars will be fought via social media. Small packs of well-armed terrorists deployed in half a dozen cities can conduct their evil for days via Twitter (or proprietary analogues).

Technology is assaulting privacy. If you think that’s OK – that the end of privacy is *all* good – then I sincerely hope that you never have to hide yourself in a linen closet because you need to break down and weep all alone.

Dignity is next. No dignity, no civilization.

Ultimately, nursing is about protecting, preserving and promoting human dignity.


A nurse is someone who understands the human condition like nobody else.

A nurse is someone who cares for you when the administration’s insolent, half-baked and black-and-white rules threaten your care.

A nurse is someone who will probably be the last human being who touches you before you dislocate from this world.

A nurse is someone who knows the value of communication.

A nurse is someone who has the guts to tell a patient they’re wrong without hurting feelings.

A nurse is someone who knows the difference between being nice and  being good. Nice disappoints. Good disturbs.

A nurse is someone who needs to be active on the Web.

A nurse is someone who can learn marketing, public relations and how to holistically repurpose digital media in common sense ways.

A nurse is someone who will tell you things about social media you might miss or not want to face.

A nurse is someone who rescues the human being from the technology.

Curiously, now that I’ve written this post, I don’t fully know why I became a nurse.

I’m just glad I did.

To paraphrase Rainer Maria Rilke:

You must quit your job.



Google TV and Healthcare

Internet TV. We’ve expected it for a long time. Will Google’s Android-based designs work? Will enough consumers take the plunge to take the internet into their living rooms? Or will mobile keep people out of the living room?

I suppose we’ll find answer to those question in the next 2 or 3 years. But let’s think about where Google TV might factor into health care.

Right now, I can think of two broad areas where Internet TV could work in Healthcare: facilities and homes.

In hospitals and other in-patient facilities, these are just three use-cases:

  • Enhanced in-patient education
  • Better entertainment in hospitals (sounds trivial, but everything’s relative)
  • Monitoring curated tweet-streams (via Twitter API or Enterprise analogue like Yammer)

For consumer health, in-home propositions include:

  • Delivery of niche health content (free, sponsored or subscription)
  • Targeted advertising
  • Virtual enhancement of patient-provider relationship

The one problem with Internet TV and Health is…lack of exercise! 🙂

The boob tube became notorious for its creation of the couch potatoes. The Internet has created its own version of a potato couch – even smartphones are creating walking couch potatoes.

Still, there’s definitely some promise with Google TV and healthcare. Some of the barriers in the coming years:

  • Adoption by consumers
  • The willingness of producers to make their websites Google TV friendly
  • The effectiveness of healthcare marketers in building the right mix of solid content, social presence and targeting strategies

It remains to be seen where Google TV fits in with Healthcare. But it’s worth keeping an eye on developments.

What about you? Have you seen Google TV in action in health care?



How To Kill Patients and Get Away With It

The feeling of moral responsibility is inversely proportional to the distance between the moral agent and the point of responsibility.

The closer the point of responsibility, the greater the feeling of responsibility.

To illustrate: it’s easier to blow the face off of a toddler by passive consent to war when she’s 6,000 miles away than 30 feet in front of you. Why? It’s much easier to justify the killing when the toddler has no face to begin with in your mind’s eye.

This is why banality is so evil – if you don’t feel a sense of responsibility, it’s harder to step up. You feel no reason.

With that, let’s explore how our healthcare institutions, ideologies, practices, providers, FDA, HIPAA, information systems and vendors can continue to kill patients…and get away with it.

  • Design facilities that maximize interruption of providers
  • Replace creative revenue strategies with cost-cutting tactics
  • Make it as difficult as possible to connect and aggregate patient information for optimal decision-making in light of risk – paper records are highly recommended for this
  • Building on the previous tip: Justify the continued use of paper records based solely on the lack of safe and effective information systems in your experience
  • Increase patient-to-nurse ratios – this is very easy to do and boosts quarterly earnings. Bonus tip: don’t re-invest the earnings – cut a dividend, reward senior management.
  • Hire and promote management talent with no experience in clinical operations whatsoever
  • Design information systems that make interpretation as flawed as possible – anything that requires the re-wiring of trillions of neurons to find and make sense of clinical data is a good start
  • Force physicians to follow rules that make no sense and place the institution’s interests and regulatory mindlessness above all else
  • Develop FDA regulations that require every bit of data about a pharmaceutical product to be placed in a package insert. A picture of a molecule is worth a thousand words of irrelevance
  • Building on the previous tip: make sure that there’s nothing meaningful a patient can take away from the insert
  • Building the previous tip even higher: make sure that the insert confuses patients so much that they  completely give up on questioning what they’re taking
  • Give different medications like-sounding names
  • Conduct clinical trials in poor countries without considering what effect differential population genetics have on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • Legislate privacy laws, like HIPAA, without considering the consequences. Let the Law of Unintended Consequences reign over Forethought
  • Don’t question well-established medical assumptions and practices
  • Don’t do anything to change clinical environments of blame, anger and passive-aggressive behavior
  • Maintain high rates of facility-acquired infection by treating the janitorial staff like dregs of society
  • Over-prescribe antibiotics
  • Ask patients to ask providers to wash their hands, and then ask yourself to wash your hands of any guilt
  • Repurpose clinical documentation from a workflow process that helps providers care for patients into a weapon of defensive medicine
  • When discussing healthcare reform, use politically-charged language, vilify your opponent, don’t consider other viewpoints and – most importantly – confuse opinion for fact
  • Replace the scientific method with new-age mysticism, feel-good language and positive imagery
  • Don’t listen to the people in your care
  • Pretend to care
  • Don’t listen to nurses
  • Pretend to love nurses
  • Refuse to see that health care is a national security concern

That’s it for now – there are so many more ways to kill patients and get away with it.

If you have tips of your own, please add them in the comments.

Together, we can design Healthcare’s final solution.

There won’t be any war crimes trials. Nobody will hang us.

This post is not sarcastic.

This post is a reminder of the banality we’ve created.



The Ugly Pearl of Healthcare

The world is your oyster.

A grain of sand. A biological process. Time.

A pearl.

The story of the pearl and the oyster is one of the most powerful mythologies.

…But what if we twist the metaphor a bit? What if the process that takes a tiny germinal and then grows around it something terrible?

In thinking about today’s Healthcare – all the Kafka moments, the waits, the language, the disconnects, the rules that self-defeat – it’s obvious that we need to understand what happened.

The problem is: we can’t really. We don’t have time to do a deep analysis. But metaphors can help us gain perspective.

So, I offer the Ugly Pearl.

A pearl, like health care, is supposed to be fascinating – in a cool way, ya know? Well an ugly pearl…well, that’s just heartbreaking.

So here we go…

There were grains of sand around which modern healthcare formed:

  • Military context – “Doctor’s Orders
  • Paternal social structures
  • The factory, assembly-line mentality of the Industrial Age
  • The objectification of the patient

These were some of the grains of sand around which grew an important part of civilization.

Over time – more than a century – these grains of sand have accumulated, infiltrated and calcified around healthcare.

And all this ugly pearling has produced lock-in: once a traditional idea sinks in, it’s hard to remove it.

For example: there was a time, not very long ago, when doctors and nurses determined your pain level. Think of that! It sounds dumb and it is dumb – and yet, there it was: a locked-in dumb idea which took wrenching to remove.


Hospitals still run on the factory-model.

There are physicians who still don’t listen to their patients – truly listen.

Nurses are still often abused – and abuse each other – in a manner that recalls the woman-hating cultures of the past. (It may be more subtle today, but it’s there – and it affects the males in the profession too.)

Patients often still feel like objects – or soldiers on a battlefield waging for the portability of and access to their healthcare data.

What’s more, physicians and nurses and other providers are now in the ever-tightening grip of this ugly pearl.

Today’s Healthcare is not PERRLA, and the industry is largely entrenched in lock-in.

But the world is changing.

Hospitals don’t get to decide if Social Media goes away.

Physicians don’t get to decide what patients do online.

When the world changes, smart people don’t look down at their feet.

When the world changes, smart people ask how it’s changing. They work to understand the world around them.

They entertain the possibility that all their decades of what they know aren’t what they should know.

Their pupils are open, equal, round and react to light and accommodation.

Healthcare – according to the stereotype – is made up of smart people.

If that’s the case, I have no doubt that we’ll witness the formation of a what a pearl should be: an achievement of life.

If it’s not the case, we’ll be ensnared in an ugly pearl for a very long time.

The world is your oyster. So is your health.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocialPearls of Wisdom


Is an Apple for Healthcare Possible?

Tech blogger Robert Scoble answered a question “Why does Apple gets more media coverage than other companies” [sic]. His answer concerning how Apple garners so much useful attention (read: revenue-earning) is worth checking out from a marketing perspective.

But it got me thinking: How come there isn’t an Apple for Healthcare?

Apple’s entire enterprise is built around design and excellence and remarkability.

Healthcare is (supposed to) be built around design and excellence and remarkability.

Now I’m not saying that there aught to be one company – just like Apple – for Healthcare.

It’s the concept of Apple.

Just as Steve Jobs had the foresight and chutzpah to keep mutating his company – from the computer industry to the music industry to the content generation industry – Healthcare needs visionaries who don’t think along the same old lines with which they’ve gotten comfortable.


Here are the roots of the problems with today’s healthcare:

  • Modern Healthcare has its roots in the industrial age.
  • Modern Medicine has its roots on the battlefield.
  • Modern Nursing has its roots in a female-dominated profession within a male-dominated society.

Think of the lock-in contained in those three points!

If you look at the entire industry of healthcare – and the other industries which orbit it – the tasks of tugging it into the 21st Century look depressing.

It just seems overwhelming: the industry is so vast, so expansive – it’s too much for an Apple to emerge. What would it do? Whom would it serve? What purpose?

There are ideas about innovation in healthcare. Howard Luks, MD has several of them right here. You can add yours.

But there is hope in one specific but huge area: Personalized Medicine.


Personalized Medicine isn’t just a buzzword: Medicine is suposed to be personalized.

Healthcare got depersonalized along the way. But when and where?

In the industrial age. On the battlefield. In the pressure-cooker of stubborn political institutions.

I’m sure many people think there can’t be an Apple for Healthcare – it’s too daunting.

Yes. But also no.

There’s sufficient design space in Personalized Medicine for an Apple.

Why? Because so many of modern Healthcare’s interventions are off-the-mark.

Why 81mg for Aspirin? Why not 82mg?

With personalized medicine, what your liver does with drugs won’t be such a mystery. That’s HUGE.

With personalized medicine, what a drug does to your liver won’t be known after it starts to fail.

With personalized medicine, entire classes of new technologies will emerge, and in the process create new economies.

And if personalized medicine is going to be done remarkably well, it will have to be done by an Apple. Or, rather, several Apples.

If you believe it can’t be done, then it can’t be done.

If you believe it’s possible, then it’s possible. And if it’s possible, then becomes responsible.

It’ll have to be done by people who know all about design and shine.

It’ll have to be done by people who know how to take healthy bites out of the status quo.

And you know what they say about apples and doctors.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocial@Apples and Foot Massages

Healthcare Problems To Discuss in 2011

We’re now more than 10% into the 21st Century. Here’s where we are in Healthcare today:

  • Most hospitals still use paper to record your most important information
  • Many of the best minds in Healthcare are nowhere to be found online – we have great ones, but we need more, more, more!
  • Doctors and nurses are getting in trouble for using iPhones in the care of their patients
  • Social Media Literacy in Healthcare – to a large extent – isn’t even at the pre-school level
  • Many providers don’t offer patients simple electronic tools and media to keep in touch
  • Facility-acquired infection rates are practically genocidal. Gen. O. Ci. Dal. Genocidal.
  • Mental Health is still called “Mental Health”, in spite of scientific evidence suggesting that the brain, not some mysterious fog, is responsible for our consciousnesses
  • Physicians are losing respect and reimbursements are declining
  • Nurses are overworked, are treated as expense items and burning out
  • Clinical collaboration is not as technologically swift as it can be
  • We treat many of our ‘elderly” like crap (sorry for the language, but it’s true)
  • Consumers continue to get bombarded by confusing and contradicting messages about health
  • Healthcare disparities continue to widen –  and still: even the rich will get screwed (again, sorry for the language, but it’s true)
  • The Life Sciences industry still doesn’t quite see itself as a provider of Healthcare solutions – today’s technology has the potential to break-down the schism between Healthcare and Pharma
  • Hospitals are still largely run on models based on the 19th Century factory
  • Domestic violence, including violence against children, still isn’t getting the attention it deserves
  • We have yet to fully understand how the ever-creeping infiltration of rapidly evolving technologies affect our health
  • The health-related data we radiate gets lost because we aren’t exploiting the technologies which could help to do that
  • The United States of America has no backup generators for Healthcare in the case of economic collapse or natural calamity

The list goes on.

Step back and re-look at the list.

Does this anger you?

Does it make ANY sense to you that this is where we are with Healthcare?

What happened? Never mind. It’s in the past.


So: what can we do now?

Not much at the top level – it’s daunting and politically frustrating. Disagree? Then go knock yourself out. 😉

We can, however, do small manageable things. Work at the local level. Persuade a hospital to change its visitation policy for the better. Take a nurse out to dinner. Eat less refined sugar.

Technology is another, especially as cost decreases as power increases:

  • Mobile
  • Social Media
  • Augmented Reality
  • Gaming
  • Clinical Collaboration Media
  • Advanced Diagnostics
  • Biomedical Advances
  • Personalized Medicine
  • Near Field Communication
  • Personal Health Records

Again, the list goes on. Things like Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Simple solutions too, like mindfulness training. We’ll riff on all that too.

Technology certainly is a big part of the solutions to our problems in Healthcare.

It’s not everything. We still need to address culture, education, recruitment…politics. Ah politics.

But we can spur conversation, spark imagination, start communities, lead others and ignite new projects.

We’ll discuss them here on Health Is Social’s blog, our Twitter Pleasure Dome, in our Newsletter, on RNchat, on MDchat, at conferences, in workshops, in interviews of smart people who care about what matters.

That’s what these media are for: to make differences that matter.

Anyhoo –

Health Is Social.

Always was, always will be.

Let’s work together – here and everywhere else we work – to make Care healthy once again.


Emailicus Newsletticus