We need to learn how to use technology to be better, more human professionals


Caught this comment from Dr Paul C Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California, which emphasises why breeching the digital divide is only possible if we see deployment of tools and apps as a way to improve human interaction, not replace it.

“Just adding an app won’t necessarily make people better doctors or more caring clinicians. What we need to learn is how to use technology to be better, more human professionals.”

The proliferation of gadgets, apps and web-based information has given doctors a black bag of new tools, but also created something of a generational divide.

Older doctors admire, even envy, their young colleagues’ ease with new technology. But they wory that the human connections that lie at the core of medical practices are at risk of being lost.

Far too often we look at deployment of collaboration and knowledge sharing tools as a technology project with the hiring of IT project managers and business analysts. Why, after all these years of collaboration tools being avaialble, do we still have less than 10% adoption in many organisations, and in many cases only 1% of actual valued usage? Part of it is due to the cultural and business change elements not being factored into any IT programme. How do we deal with nuturing people into these technologies? How do we look how it improves the human interaction and relationships? In many cases we reach for the easy targets of cosy office based workers who have desktops and an understanding of why these tools help. The real challenge is dealing with front-line and hard to reach workers that need to be guided on the benefits and how the trust relationship is changing. This nuturing and in mnay cases ‘hand-holding’ will be essential to enable collaboration tools to be seen as an key tool in changing the way we work and our relationship with organisations, customers, colleagues and others.


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