Disruptive technologies follow a similar societal pattern, where geeky mavericks often clueless about the implications of their own inventions inspire early adopters who pave the way for revolution and eventual institutional transformation.
In retrospect these technological paradigm shifts seem as inevitable as they once were surprising, an evolution from custom design to mass production, or shift from product to information-based economies quickly considered de rigueur.
But institutions have the tendency to perpetuate problems they ostensibly are meant solve, even overtly beneficial advances typically met with stubborn, furious resistance. With every change, money and livelihoods are at stake.
As digital experts, we’ve seen a very similar pattern in the institutional resistance to technology exhibited by the healthcare communications industry in general, and pharmaceutical and device manufacturers in particular.
Notice the emphasis on “communications” rather than research and development, diagnostics, practice management, and other core competencies where technology has instead taken an active, frequently central role in medicine for generations.
Sit on any healthcare company investor call and you’re most likely to hear news about pipeline development for products or drugs, M&As and divestments, number of scripts sold or beds filled: Technology is welcome and supported in all these areas.
But what about the end-user—the patient—and the physicians who treat them? The soul of medicine is the Hippocratic oath, whereby healthcare professionals promise to benefit the sick, each doctor according to their own ability and judgment.
How will digital health eventually transform all of healthcare?
“What is the Business of Healthcare?”