BOSTON – Technology can change the health care paradigm if providers learn how to leverage its benefits, according to Dr. Joseph Kvedar, vice president of connected health at Partners Healthcare.
“We have to work together,” Kvedar told an audience at the Connected Health Conference last week. “We have to delegate certain tasks to computers and leave the human stuff to us.”
Kvedar said there are certain qualities unique to humans that cannot be replicated by technology, such as: caring, emotional intelligence, judgment, and quality control.
Computers today, however, can gather data, arrive at a conclusion and synthesize a plan, as well as diagnose a health condition.
“In most cases, we’re better off leaving that stuff to technology,” he said.
The industry’s traditional model of one-to-one care delivery is no longer an option, considering that by 2020 there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 5, Kvedar said. He suggests the industry adopt technology to create “one-to-many” health care delivery models to bridge the gap between the growing number of patients and the shrinking number of providers.
“The reality is, soon we won’t have enough health care providers to sufficiently care for our citizens,” he said.
Kvedar said most health care providers entered the field because of a desire to care for patients. To free up time to do this, providers have to embrace technology and outsource routine tasks.
“Health care professionals need to look for opportunities to outsource routine tasks to machines, not be afraid to do so, and appreciate the value of caring and human connection, judgment and attention to quality,” he said. “We must develop these technologies to enhance and support the human interaction between a health care provider and patient.”