New technology always becomes a business advantage. Yesterday, I was in a meeting of medical professionals. Hearing of their difficulties springs the imagination into high gear.

There are serious advantages to thriving on change

At the core of this issue, underpinning that discussion, are public policies that are driving organizations to provide patients access to their information. But new “Patient Portals” upset the traditional workflow. Because it turns out that people will use the portals and want to communicate. And this avenue of interaction is unwelcome in the clinic.

Since Florence Nightingale, reception has been the first layer insulating medical professionals from their customers. It’s actually termed “screening.” Surprisingly, nobody thinks this is weird. Unsurprisingly, screening is beginning to evaporate.

Medical teams fail to adopt systems evolution because leadership fails to evangelize the advantages. And so, adoption resistance can be substantial. Staff churn and morale are impacted.

Then of course there’s the base-layer habitual gripes. Like troublesome telephone systems. I’ll return to this frame below.

Generally speaking the pattern of resistance is endemic. What I’m trying to point out is that there are serious advantages to thriving on change.

Teams resist substantially adopting systems evolution because leadership fails to evangelize the advantages.

Still, I’m not unsympathetic to these frustrations. Fear is a driver. So is lack of time.

In every instance there is a future where present difficulties are obsolete. AI in medicine will replace scheduling and prioritization and I daresay, usher in universal care if for no other reason than because the science and economics of prevention are undeniable.

The notion of useful devices watching our biology has been around since before Astronauts went into space. Laika, a Moscow street doggie – the first lifeform to leave earth, wore sensors and her data was part of the orbital telemetry. Our data is revolutionizing life; it will reinvent how we understand living. Someday, monitoring applies to us all.

Technology adoption is always followed by care and feeding

Most people who are working in healthcare weren’t alive in 1957. And monitoring still sounds scary to us today. It will become ubiquitous, starting with those who have issues and with those who want to remain healthy. Proactive healthcare will increase lifespan and worklife.

The best suggestion I can make is enjoy the ride. Back to the example of telephones…

The first commercial phone company went into business in 1877. It wasn’t difficult then to comprehend the advantage instant conversation would convey. But a century and a half between now and then has not rendered telephones easy to manage. This is most especially true in our mobile age.

No one can imagine a clinic without a phone system. Yet most practitioners currently view Patient Portals as unnecessary distractions.

The single biggest challenge businesses face is the “set it and forget it” mentality

It’s important to recognize that complexity increases. And so does the toolkit we use to manage it. Having expertise in one area, doesn’t imply competence in another. Doctors are not content managers.

A telephony example is Voice over IP. These services depend on data network engineering, but telephone systems administration is still a discipline on it’s own. Call coverages should not be configured and forgotten. When they are, trouble is always the result.

Everyone managing in tech understands installations, moves adds and changes. Why do we leave out maintenance and modernization? User training? Often it’s expense. Often it’s over-taxed resources. Too many forklift upgrades occur simply because people hate the system they have.

My point is that adoption is always followed by care and feeding. The single biggest challenge businesses face is the “set it and forget it” mentality.

Phone systems have been around for 150 years, and we’re still not good at managing them. Taking a long view on AI is correct and doing so informs us on aspects we can improve now, along the way.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

James Baker, US Secretary of State

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