Our hospital is the newest, fastest, most up to date, most technologically advanced, with the latest and greatest scientific tools in the city-state-region-country today.
How many times have heard a message similar to the one above?
I know in my career, I have heard it thousands of times.
In the late 90’s–early 2000’s, in various hospital service lines, there may have been a difference in the treatments available to the majority of patients based on technology.
Perhaps in radiation oncology it meant the difference between receiving Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) versus conventional 3-dimensional radiation therapy.
Perhaps in a surgical suite, it was the difference between an open and invasive surgery versus a laparoscopic robotic assisted (minimally invasive) surgery.
Maybe it meant the difference between having access to an MRI or a Multi-slice CT Scanner.
However, in the US, those days are gone.
The gap in technology between Hospital A and Hospital B is almost miniscule.
Sure, it is always nice to have the latest and greatest gadget. The shiny new toy. The next widget that added a new feature that I only use 5% of the time.
However, as much as we know, care, and think it is important to have the newest widget, can patients tell?
Do patients care?
How do you draw a solid line from your technology to the patient?
More importantly, can a patient draw a solid line from their problem, to your technology?
If a patient were to do the same exercise between you and your competitors, would it be the same line? Would your line have more twists, turns, loops, and zigzags? Would your line become a dotted line when compared to your competitors?
When I listen to the radio ads, see the TV commercials, or drive past the billboards and I see messages from hospitals being the most “technologically advanced” I simply ask…..
If you cannot translate that technology, equipment, or feature to benefiting the patient, then does it matter? Is it really the best investment?
When your advanced technology does not empower a patient to understand their care and diagnosis, it doesn’t matter to me.
When your technology doesn’t make it easier for a patient to talk to their care team about their needs, their expectations, and their decisions, it doesn’t matter.
When your technology doesn’t mean a patient experiences a timely response, it doesn’t matter.
When your technology doesn’t mean less interruptions to a patients life, it doesn’t matter.
When your technology makes you run behind, or causes staff to be rude, or makes a patient fill out the same form multiple times, or loses the patient in the referral process between physicians, it doesn’t matter.
Technology is an enabler.
People using technology in ways that draw a direct benefit to patients, that is a way to differentiate between hospitals.
The “great technological divide” between hospitals is no more than a hair line fracture. (thank goodness they have the most advanced x-ray equipment to find it)
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek