When I first started practicing, there certainly wasn't as much talk about technology. Now we're all thinking about BYOD, iPhones, EMRs, EHRs, and big data.
But there has always been discussion of how to use the tools available to us to make research stronger, care easier, and medicine better. And for decades, I've been experimenting with the best ways to use tools like telemedicine to support medical teams in caring for complex patients - facial deformities, handicapped children, spinal bifida and everyday care. Especially in the early years of computers in medicine, it was not always easy to get the team on board. There were a lot of long meetings, backtracking, and mistakes. So I learned some lessons the hard way about how to work on teams, integrate technology, and ensure great outcomes.
My 5 hardest earned lessons on using technology for medical teams, especially in managed care settings:
- Explain your technology choice and the reasons for your decision. Be open and honest with full disclosure of the pros and cons so teammates don't feel like they've been forced into a particular choice.
- Enlist the support of a champion. Find a person on the team with idealism and energy -- and show them how these new tools will help leverage everyone's efforts.
- Support the weakest link. After all, it is a team, and a team is only as strong as its weakest link. There are team members who preceded the information revolution. Often presenting themselves as proud of their computer illiteracy, they often strongly wish to be part ot the new age. So rather than leaving them behind, make them part of the solution.
- Make sure the technology helps solve the team's problem. We're all human, and it's hard to care about someone else's agenda. So if the technology solves the government's or joint commission's problem (as opposed to the team's or patient's problem), you'll struggle to get anywhere.
- Choose technology that is quick, on demand, detached from schedules, and delightful. Information overload has numbed minds, pained wrists, and strained eyes. The wrong technology for the wrong reasons (any reason that does not take care of the provider and patient first) will never work. Security is paramount, but when doubt, err on the side of simplicity.
Click here to get a rundown of telemedicine options and what to look for in a solution: