In the chaotic aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, Daniel Woolley needed help. Stuck in rubble, alone, help didn’t come for hours, and then days. Soon, Daniel realized he had a resource that would save his life. In these critical hours, he used information from his iPhone to treat his injuries and ultimately survive the earthquake.
Was there any way for the creators of the technology that supported this miracle to have predicted it? Probably not. But just as “the exception proves the rule,” it is the unintended uses of technology that really showcase its power. Human ingenuity makes magic out of plastic and circuit boards.
That’s the up-side. The down-side? Human foibles can also make technology create unintended outcomes that are undesirable. As technology improves, people innovate uses for it that outstrip the regulatory and social structures that governed “life before” the technology. It happens in every field- business, government, your daughter’s social life… but nowhere is the discussion more vital than in the medical field.
Answers are coming from multiple sources. Scientific American notes that the FDA is now considering multiple forms of oversight. New broadband policy posits a collaboration between the FDA and FCC. It’s where science meets politics… and the intent is to protect us.
Over the past 15 years, as physicians using technology to collaborate, teach, and improve access to care, we have also wrestled with these challenges. Our answer? Self-regulation at its best.
We developed a design principle that is HIPPAA-compliant and just plain effective: the “requesting provider” (the one asking for the consult) is the final protector (she maintains full responsibility at all times) of the patient. This provider uses the consult as one piece of input, always analyzing, prioritizing, and assessing risk.
We work with providers, when they join us in ClickCare, to be cognizant of this, and realize that they must think as well as react. ClickCare makes all of this much easier, and lets you do your job better, but it is you who is helping the patient, and you who must decide. It’s you who creates the magic… as the government works to catch up to you.