This week while serving on the GI consult service at Texas Children’s Hospital I was asked to evaluate a child in the Pediatric Heart Failure ICU. When I walked into the patient’s room, I found this: A massive wall-mounted touch screen at the foot of the bed with all of the patient’s critical data beautifully displayed.
As the cardiac intensivists round, all of the patient’s EPIC data is right there in real-time. Ins and outs, blood gases and trending art line readings in beautiful graphic display. And what isn’t there is is accessible with the poke of a finger. The patient sees the same thing as the provider allowing for collaborative exchange. In fact, patients can poke and participate as well.
What’s evident here is that data is meeting doctors and parents where they’re at. For years we ‘went to the computer’ when we needed information. Then the computer came with us on wheels (the COW as it was called – but unfortunately it couldn’t fit in a lot of rooms, had a miserable battery life, and only one or two people could see it).
This concept of decentralized, contextually-appropriate channeling of information is beginning to disrupt the clinical encounter. As ambient interfaces infiltrate the clinical environment, the right data will increasingly find us and our patients precisely at the point of care where it’s actionable.
It’s technology getting in the way for all the right reasons.
I hinted at this in 2012 in The Coming Age of Contextual Health. For more on the doctor-patient dyad and how it works with information, check out Doctors as Victims of Screen Positioning, Negotiating IT in the Exam Room, Doctors as Victims of Technology.