Physicians have always played a significant role in healthcare. Currently, they spend more time in the EHR (Electronic Health Records) than any other activity. However, today we see new trends as new digital health technology is being developed and adopted for everything from clinical communications to telemedicine. Clinicians are taking the opportunity to influence, build, and deliver these new digital health solutions.
What’s fascinating is that this trend of clinicians as developers is in stark contrast in so many ways to the EHR proliferation era we are now exiting. While EHRs were developed to enable workflows, most clinicians conformed to the workflows of the EHR, not the other way around; EHRs can be customized to clinician workflows, but they rarely are in practice. Now, what we’re seeing is more and more clinicians developing technology to meet their own bespoke, or customized, workflows. That’s why it’s 1000s of blooming flowers of new clinician-designed and built digital health technologies.
There are risks and challenges inherent to this approach, especially for health systems and academic medical centres despite the potential upside of digital health bringing efficiencies to clinician practices by automating or improving workflows. This is because often the traditional IT channels are too slow or don’t have the physician or human resources available. However, what clinicians do today is deploy and manage their own IT resources. Owing to it, we’re going to see more and more health systems develop strategies to enable clinicians as developers. The solution is likely not through traditional IT, what’s more likely is that formal innovation or digital strategies will develop that balance the needs of clinician developers with the needs of health systems to know what technologies are being used in their organization and where their patient data is flowing.