I love it when several lines of thought come together and provide some new insights. Not an answer or answers, but suggestions about more fertile places to look. A July 4th post by Cindy Throop planted a seed of thought that sort of nagged at me but didn’t immediately lead anywhere:
“Apparently, I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed by information related to health care reform. Others have reached a saturation point as well. … In addition to an endless barrage of information (and discussions and debates regarding various combinations of information), trying to find a voice in the midst of the chaos is intimidating. Is anyone listening? Does what I say matter? If I spend endless hours of my “spare time” learning everything I can about health care reform, will the effort be futile? Will my opinion be heard?
There is an incredible amount of information and opinion about electronic medical records (EMR.) Almost all rational but not much of it that is actionable. Each element is part of something valuable but too fragmented to see what that something is. Too many competing interests and points of view with almost no participation by those who will realize the real value—patients.
Then Barbara Duck posted Twitter comment about clinics at CVS and Walgreens using Google and Microsoft’s patient health records (PHRs) to facilitate service for patients and to report back to the patient’s doctor. Providers—mini clinics–at the disruptive edge of the medical establishment and outside much of the debate are using the personal forms of the healthcare industry’s electronic systems to provide better service and more value to their patients.
Value drives technology. Technology didn’t drive the innovations of the Internet. Technology facilitated them but value drove them. CompuServe and AOL developed proprietary systems but Netscape went after an open format that drove value. The value of the open system was recognized in the marketplace. Netscape lost but showed the way and was soon followed by Firefox. AOL tried to play catch-up but lost its luster. Others saw value and went to the marketplace with browsers, email, blogs, Twitter, etc. A variety of choices to respond to a range of needs but all able to interoperate based on worldwide industry driven standards.
EMRs are about providing value. Can information and debate facilitate the creation and delivery of value? Yes. Can we see where the value will lie and the form it will take? Only dimly. We weren’t very good at figuring out where the Internet would take us. But value—usually real value and sometimes just the possibility of future value—continues to drive innovations and increase the value of the Internet.
In an “endless barrage of information (and discussions and debates regarding various combinations of information”) there isn’t anyone listening in a way that will make a difference, the effort may be futile, one more opinion probably won’t matter. Maybe some new ways of looking at the issues will help. Stay tuned.