Doctors leading the way in innovation design!
Doctors leading the way in innovation design!

Gabrielle Speijer, MD

ICT&health, 05/2021

Doctors leading the way in innovation design!

Technology is essential for healthcare, and nobody doubts that anymore. Everyone now knows that innovation involves more than just buying a device or software program. To achieve safe clinical adoption, guidance from healthcare professionals is necessary, as is consultation with patients on the design of innovative applications. Surprisingly, the design is often fixed and cannot be modified. It is, therefore, high time for me and my colleagues to take the lead!

The market outside our practice is developing exponentially, where the clinical questioning and engagement are not always the starting point. It is crucial that physicians take charge of the design of an innovation for their workplace. Their expertise and experience ensure the best care for the patient: personal and digital. Collaboration with other parties in the field of healthcare technology is also crucial.

Tsunami of apps

Strangely enough, this does not necessarily affect the investor. In fact, we see a wide range of advertisements popping up for such “solutions.” A serious issue because, can we as physicians cope with this tsunami of apps that seems to be coming for us and our patients (including healthy citizens wishing to invest in improving health)? I would like to answer this rhetorical question: we as doctors will simply have to make time for it and collectively demand attention from relevant stakeholders, such as our executive boards. Now that these developments are proceeding so “loosely,” citizens can be unwittingly brainwashed with solutions for nonexistent issues that sound very appealing and also suggest a sense of urgency. Or, even smarter: play into what the big tech giants already know about us through the data we provide for the services we are allowed to use for free.

Earning on unhealthiness

That these innovations in the field of innovation are not desirable requires no explanation because earning on our unhealthiness: we better think about that now! An extremely dangerous development from the right to receive the best care independently in a time of aging, staff shortages, and healthcare becoming unaffordable. A global problem.

By embodying our knowledge and experience in technology and data, we exponentially enhance the health of the citizen or patient. And that is what we healthcare professionals want with all our hearts! I imagine offering the same expertise to more people in the world during my consultations. But at the same time, I can upscale my colleagues, within and outside the Netherlands, for peer review. And in the meantime, we keep learning continuously: next time, the system will already come up with a proposal based on the best colleagues in the field. Where ‘the best’ is never fixed but is continuously selected through transparent selection in the confidential network of healthcare providers and patients.

I assume that you understand where I am going, namely that real guidance is needed on (technological) innovation from the heart of healthcare. New inventions outside our practice can provide us with extreme progress, especially from completely different fields. A good example is what space travel can offer in terms of insights for medicine. From a high objective: because, in a manned flight, fundamental issues that play from various angles such as radiation, weightlessness, isolation, disturbed night rhythm, and medical problems need to be solved. Speaking of sharpening up!

Space for innovation in our work

Let’s start by taking the things we accept as normal in our daily lives and incorporating them into our clinical practice. The smartphone offers many ways to create space in our work, but also to leave certain matters (such as the timing of responding or asking questions) to the patient. An approach that is individualized and adapted to the timing and place. That is, of course, only possible if there is an understanding of each other’s experience and expectations in contact…

About the author

Gabriëlle Speijer is a Radiation Oncologist at the Haga Hospital, founder of the healthcare innovation company CatalyzIT, HIMSS Future50 International HealthIT leader and member of the ICT&health editorial board.