The Doctors Are In

The Doctors 2.0 pre conference workshop Sunday opened with a panel that included five talented physicians who have had experience as practicing professionals and who are also using their tech know how to improve the way health care is delivered. But one of the docs was not like the others. The sixth panel member, Dr. Nancy Kimber, is a multi-talented physician, too. She is from a solo practice gynecology clinic, works as a sexual assault consultant in the Long Beach Police Department and is writing a medical school curriculum that instructs students how to treat victims of sex crimes. However, she felt like the odd physician out sitting on the Doctors 2.0 panel when she considers herself behind the tech curve. “Then the lightening bolt hit me. That’s exactly why they wanted me here,” she said. “I’m here to represent some of the newbies.” Panel moderator Dr. Will Sellman, Director of Performance Improvement at Affinity Medical Group, admitted that innovators have a tendency to become too focused on their products. Sunday provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take off their developer caps so that they could consider user perspectives like Kimber’s.

Dr. Ron Dixon, panel member and associate medical director at Massachusetts General Hospital, had just gotten off of a six-hour flight from Boston. He told the audience about the renowned east coast medical research facility’s attitude toward health technology. “They don’t really care about the EMR, they don’t care about extender apps, they don’t care about any of this stuff,” he said. What Mass General physicians do care about is effectively taking care of the chronic disease population, brining more patients into the system, and doing all of that far better than they’ve managed to do in the past. So even though some physicians lack an affinity for tech tools (and some probably even have a deep aversion to them), they acknowledge that, if implemented correctly, new devices and programs can help them better work toward their goals. Dixon’s introduction was good reminder that there are opinions and attitudes toward Health 2.0 outside of Silicon Valley, and they matter just as much in this national discussion as those that come from inside.

Enoch Choi, a family medicine physician who practices urgent care belted out modified version of one of his favorite songs, “A Little Respect” by Erasure. “I tried to discover,” he sang, “a little something to make the EHR sweeter/ Oh baby refrain from breaking my heart/ I’m so in love with you/ I’ll be forever blue/ That you give me no reason why you’re making me work so hard!” His soulful performance woke the audience up in more ways than one. His point was that physicians don’t get any respect for the heartbreak they endure as they try to embrace EHRs.

Doctors like Kimber are an imperative part of the Health 2.0 conversation and though they are brilliant people, they don’t automatically speak the language of tech. That’s why before Kimber turned the mic over to those demoing their products, she reminded them to speak slowly and to assume that some in the audience knew nothing.

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