Love of Health Tech Doesn't Have to be (Double) Blind

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , October 25, 2011

Shah noted that although the airline industry lets customers make their own travel arrangements by booking their flights online and checking in at airport kiosks, it hasn't made air travel safer or less expensive.

But there's a flaw in that argument. The airlines didn't make those changes to help consumers save time and money—they did it to save themselves time and money. And they certainly didn't do it to improve flyer safety.

But what if you gave every airline passenger a breathalyzer kit they could use to ensure the pilot is not drunk? Or sent them a text reminding them to buckle their seatbelt before takeoff? Or gave them an app to remind them how to put on a life vest in an emergency? Would those things improve the quality and safety of passengers?

Frankly I have no idea.
But how on earth could it hurt?

To be fair, Shah was asked to argue that self-management doesn't improve patient safety and quality or reduce costs—the whole premise of the session was to engage in debate. In any other situation, he said, he'd probably concur with Kvedar.

Good. But I wonder about the bulk of the medical profession and whether they're ready to cede even a little bit of control to patients—and the technology that can help them manage their care outside the doctor's office.

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