Innovation in healthcare blazes past technological advances in many other sectors. Spending in healthcare far exceeds many other areas of our nation’s dollars. Many corporations, established and start-ups alike, exist to capture that momentum. While novel ideas seemingly flourish every day, rarely does it occur with the input of those on the front lines, doctors. The software and data healthcare businesses thrive, yet those using this technology are often unsatisfied with it. For months, doctors cried out against the EHR systems we use because we feel it impedes our workflow. Many of us supplicate the big data companies to listen to us. How can a product be successful if those using it are dissatisfied? While many of these companies succeed, their success depreciates because they have not captured their end users of their products. There has never been a greater need for technology and innovation in medicine than there is today. Doctors need new tools both in practice management and the practice of medicine. But these tools require input from doctors to be developed in the most useful and practical way. Without listening to the input of doctors, companies possess just another gadget they try to sell to us.

“Without listening to the input of doctors, companies possess just another gadget they try to sell to us.”

In my practice, I see sales representatives calling on me all the time. Often, the products proffered have some advantages, but the weaknesses appear as well. This fact prevents me from purchasing many new products on the market. If asked, I could readily explain how these products could be altered to achieve usefulness to my practice. Yet, this is not what happens. Rather, innovation is developed and then offered for sale. Silicon Valley remains the leader in technology and start-ups. They would be wise to embrace doctors for the reasons already noted. Having the opinions of end users before developing products would reduce later fixes and revisions. Similarly, having doctors on-board could help with the development and implementation of these products with the direct knowledge of how end users are using them. All too often, EHR vendors tell us that their system improves workflow. They cannot know because they have been using it only in a controlled environment, not in an actual medical setting. Beta testing performed by doctors in their practices would greatly address the issue of practice flow problems. No one else qualifies to perform beta testing in real life situations. Having a doctor representative in these healthcare companies serves many purposes as well. Many doctors respect the opinions of their colleagues more than company sales representatives or spokespersons. More direct questions targeted at clinical usefulness can be addressed. Many company representatives randomly show up in my practice and ask for 5 minutes of my time. They do not understand what 5 minutes of my time represents. And I cannot drop everything to accommodate their sales pitch. Other doctors understand this. There is no one else who understands doctors like other doctors do. While healthcare technology and innovations around the world and in Silicon Valley prosper, it would be wise for companies to embrace physicians. More of these discoveries need to be directly adapted into the practice of medicine. Without the support of doctors, these become less successful. Imagine developing a tool you think great for use by doctors. Then, imagine how much easier it would be to have that doctor in the room with you telling you what it needs to work and get other doctors to buy it. Doctors need new tools. But we need ones that ease our practices, not contribute to burnout. Isn’t it time to maximize everyone’s success and form the team?

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Get Dr. Linda’s New Book! Inside Our Broken Healthcare System Dr. Linda Girgis MD, FAAFP, is a family physician in South River, New Jersey. She holds board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine and is affiliated with St. Peter’s University Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital. Dr. Girgis earned her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency at Sacred Heart Hospital, through Temple University and she was recognized as intern of the year. Over the course of her practice, Dr. Girgis has continued to earn awards and recognition from her peers and a variety of industry bodies, including: Patients’ Choice Award, 2011-2012, Compassionate Doctor Recognition, 2011-2012. Dr. Girgis’ primary goal as a physician remains ensuring that each of her patients receives the highest available standard of medical care. Follow Dr. Linda Girgis, MD, FAAFP: Website | Twitter |