Digitalization can be a bad master or a good servant. It all depends on how we approach it. And in healthcare this is particularly true.
Digitalization of anything is not self-saving. If you start with technologies rather than the needs of people who will be using them, then it usually doesn’t end well. That’s the reason why digitalization has been rather bumpy for example in the US healthcare. While it is, after 11 years, almost fully penetrated with IT systems and technologies, the lives of nurses and doctors were by no means improved. On the contrary. US hospitals report enormous increase in administration (one hour with a patient requires two hours to report the outcomes of that examination) and far reaching impact on psychological health of the medical personnel (statistics show more than 50 % of nurses and doctors suffering from burnout due to increased administration requirements and overtime directly caused by digitalization). The US is trying to address the issues, but it will take a lot of time to rectify the situation and American healthcare will pay a high price.
So how to make sure digitalization helps rather than adds to stress? How to digitalize what is needed and how to do it in a way that is easy, cost effective and user friendly? We think the right way is not only through the analysis of processes and subsequent implementation of robust IT systems. On the contrary, we must focus on the challenges and needs of the medical staff and create applications for their own mobile devices. Hospitals should have a say in what apps they want based on their needs and should be able to easily and cheaply obtain them without burdening the IT departments that are already overloaded. These apps must be simple to install and use, much as the ones we use for personal purposes. So how to achieve it?
That’s the reason why we joined forces with TeskaLabs, Viale One, multidisciplinary platform Zdravotnictvi (v) budoucnosti and Univerzita J. E. Purkyně (UJEP) and developed an atlas of healthcare apps. It is called Aplas (www.aplas.cz) and it connects those who need apps with those who have or develop them. In this way we want to support smart digitalization of the Czech healthcare. Aplas offers a range of apps – mobile and web, open source and commercial. It also shows best practices with the goal to motivate medical staff to request apps they are missing and developers to start working on them. We believe that thought through apps can bring real added value to the Czech healthcare.
We talked about the US healthcare, Aplas and Czech best practices at the Conference of Young Doctors on April 4. If you are interested you can see our contribution here.