Today I read an article about the new Tesla Model X. Being a car guy means that I immediately want to know how fast it can go. As it turns out it’s REALLY fast. An average minivan can go from 0 to 60mph in about 10 seconds. The Tesla Model X ‘Performance‘ model can go the same distance in 3.8 seconds. For a little more money, one can purchase the ‘Ludicrous Mode’ option, which makes it go the same distance in just 3.2 seconds! If you aren’t into cars, think of those skydiving videos that make the person’s face flap around… that’s how fast this is. Today, I can’t seem to find a parallel to this type of technology and advancement in healthcare. I won’t go so far as to say we are in the horse and buggy era, but we are behind. We need to figure out how to get to ‘Ludicrous Mode‘ in healthcare.
How do we go from being sick to being well in the shortest amount of time? I don’t think you can point your finger to one area and find the answer. It is a complicated problem, more complicated than even the most technologically advanced car. You see in order to achieve what Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and his team have achieved - controlling every bit of the process in the development and delivery of their vehicles - owning the entire process is the key.
Our healthcare system is not closed; it’s not centrally controlled and managed. Our healthcare system is distributed with myriad standards that are either adopted or ignored and technologies that thrive or wither with time. In order to achieve what other industries have achieved, we must become aligned with standard processes and ways of communicating, treating, tracking, and proving our methods that positively affect patient lives. It won’t happen overnight or in a year, yet we need to find ways to make incremental improvements so we can someday meet the ’Ludicrous Mode‘ ideal.
Until recent years we operated as silos, with individualized workflows, technology preferences, and methods for treating people who were all getting the same sicknesses. Then we started breaking down some barriers and began to “share” because it meant saving lives – for example, transferring a stroke patient to the right setting with a Radiology CD. Isn’t every life precious at any moment in time? Whether in immediate danger or not? We don’t need to react to a life threatening event in order to help make peoples’ lives better.
Let’s make it easier to manage even routine events. For example, when a doctor sends a patient for an x-ray on a twisted ankle, she should be able to place the order request electronically and get a response the same way, without having an expensive integration in place to do so. Better yet, why can’t the data just flow right into the tools she uses to track patients and manage their care? And why does she, the expert, have to make a call and justify her treatment plan in order for the patient’s insurance to pay? Shouldn’t her time be better spent examining and treating patients rather than doing paper work and making phone calls? Let’s allow doctors to be doctors. Let’s enable them to help people faster, safer, and with total focus. The faster doctors get answers, the faster the next actions can be taken in the course of a patient’s journey toward wellness.