Demystifying Health Tech: Michelle Currie’s Insightful Take on SavantSolutions4HIT’s Approach
In the dynamic landscape of technology, particularly in the health sector, a nuanced understanding of its capabilities and limitations becomes crucial. Michelle Currie, the founder of SavantSolutions4HIT, recently shed light on this crucial subject in an episode of the Health Connective Show. Her insights are not just a reflection of her expertise but also serve as a guide to how we perceive the benefits of technology in healthcare.
Over the course of two decades, Michelle has witnessed remarkable advancements in health-related technology. Yet, she discerns a recurring tendency to overestimate its potential while downplaying areas of persistent challenge. In her astute observation, she notes that the healthcare industry often repeats the same mistakes without pausing to assimilate valuable lessons from each hype cycle. Michelle notes that the inclination to overestimate technology originates from a clash of cultures. The technology mindset tends to seek silver bullets and rapid innovation, while healthcare demands a more cautious approach centered on managing risks and protecting patients. This ongoing clash of priorities underscores the persistent underestimation in recognizing that improving healthcare involves more than just technology.
As an experienced clinical informaticist, Michelle recognizes that despite the common assumption that the difficulty in seamlessly incorporating technology into healthcare arises from the intricacies of the technology itself, the more formidable challenge lies in navigating the complexities of altering human behavior.
One of the key challenges Michelle highlights is the preference for customization and the resistance to standardization. This plays out in numerous ways, but one of the most damaging is the variability in the language we use to describe healthcare activities. For instance, what one organization refers to as an ‘encounter,’ another organization might call a ‘visit.’ Or take the use of the word “test” when referring to lab tests. This same word is used to describe both the physician’s request for the patient to have a lab test performed as well as the result of that same lab test once processed. This level of ambiguity, or uncertainty in the meaning and definition of what a word or a concept means, may seem trivial, but it’s a significant hurdle in the healthcare industry and is one of the major barriers to interoperability. Multiply the use of different worlds to describe the same concept by the number of concepts that exist in healthcare, and one can see why the complexity of aligning or translating them across different organizations is not simply a technical task. Addressing this issue involves understanding the nuances of the language used in healthcare and how standardizing the language can have a significant impact on healthcare operations and those providing care to patients.
Furthermore, Michelle’s perspectives underscore the significance of adopting an empathy-first approach to address adoption. Acknowledging the end user’s world is paramount in crafting solutions that truly resonate. Ideally, before embarking on the development of a particular technology, software engineers would spend eight hours shadowing a physician or another healthcare provider in the very environment where the technology is intended to be implemented. An understanding of the goals clinicians are aiming to accomplish, the information required to achieve this goal, the thought processes and contingencies clinicians take into account, and others that are involved in accomplishing the goal would pivot the design from creating a widget to leveraging technology to create an environment that simplifies and streamlines these activities. We have spent many years focusing on “pushing” technology onto clinicians. We need to move from push to pull. If technology is elegant and meets the need, adoption will follow.
Michelle’s perspective is a wake-up call to the industry. It’s not just about having the latest technology; it’s about how this technology is used to address real-world challenges. In healthcare, this means understanding the language and context before applying technological solutions. This approach is what sets SavantSolutions4HIT apart in the industry. They recognize that solving healthcare’s complex problems is not solely a technical challenge but also a linguistic and contextual one.
Michelle Currie’s thought-provoking discussion brings to the forefront an often-overlooked aspect of health technology. It’s a reminder that, in the race to digitalize, the essence of healthcare – understanding and addressing effective integration into healthcare operations – should not be lost. Her company, SavantSolutions4HIT, stands as a testament to the belief that technology, when correctly aligned with the human aspect of healthcare, can lead to transformative solutions. This balance between tech-savvy and human-centric approaches is what will drive the future of healthcare technology, making it more effective and inclusive.