Integrating the clinical voice in health technology

By Caroline VarrialeDec. 19, 2018

Caroline is a member of the Force Clinical Integration Team

Healthcare is a complex service industry made up of a variety of stakeholders, each with varying goals and incentives. Service industries produce value through things that are primarily intangible such as customer service,, advice, knowledge, design, data and experiences. Clinicians play a unique role.  Ultimately clinicians are responsible for delivering care and therefore serve as intermediaries between the business and the patient experience of healthcare.

 

Given this unique position, clinicians have skills that are vital to excellent care delivery which can be challenging to quantify and automate through technology. As utilization of healthcare technology continues to grow, product development must recognize and be guided by expert, innovative clinical voices.

 Successful clinicials are skilled in both emotional intelligence and clinical reasoning. Clinical reasoning is a standardized process comprised of:

  • describing the situation
  • collecting information
  • interpreting information
  • diagnosing the problem(s)
  • establishing goal(s)
  • taking action(s)
  • evaluating outcomes
  • reflecting on learning(s)

A clinician may spend 5 minutes or 3 hours moving through the clinical reasoning cycle, however, each part of the process is essential to delivering high quality, effective healthcare. The graphic below provides a closer look at what happens in each phase of the clinical reasoning cycle.

Timeline of touch points across a traditional episode of care.

With increasing demands being placed on healthcare providers to provide more efficient and effective care, technology has emerged as an essential component in any value-based strategy. Despite its obvious benefits, technology in healthcare cannot fully replace the human side of care delivery. Accurately recognizing, understanding and managing patients’ emotions is extremely difficult to build into technology (artificial intelligence and machine learning are working on this challenge). Additionally, two phases of clinical reasoning stand out as particularly challenging to automate - 1) the interpretation phase, in which providers use their medical expertise and past patient care experience to process information and arrive at a diagnosis, and 2) the contemplation phase, in which providers reflect on outcomes and internalize new learnings. Because of the complex, human-centered nature of clinical care, it’s therefore essential that healthcare technology companies invest in and utilize clinical expertise to guide their partnerships and growth.

 

At Force, we believe that evidence-based, excellent clinical care has always been and will continue to be at the heart of valuable healthcare. It’s our job (and the job of technology in healthcare as a whole) to elevate and empower clinical reasoning, decision-making, and evidence-based care delivery. Force incorporates multiple strategies to ensure that clinical expertise drives our product development and client relationships. The Clinical Integration & Research team is comprised of clinical and non-clinical members uniquely positioned to guide internal and external conversations around clinical best practice, research design and implementation, and product development for success across a variety of stakeholders. Force consistently over-invests in client relationships, particularly with clinical end-users, because we know that clinicians are the true drivers of healthcare quality and value.

 

The unique nature of the healthcare industry and the service it provides necessitates that technology recognize and elevate clinical care providers. To date, technology cannot replace the emotional intelligence, empathy, or expert reasoning capabilities of skilled clinicians. The real value of technology in healthcare is therefore found in learning from and with clinicians, and empowering them to provide more efficient and effective care. As an industry leader, Force is proud to be clinical at its core and dedicated to upholding the highest standards of care delivery in every partnership.

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