Friday, May 6, 2016

Slack for Hospitals, where art thou?

In my recent article in Emergency Medicine News, titled "The Most Solvable Cause of Medical Error," I explain how a "Slack for Hospitals" would greatly reduce interruptions in the hospital environment, and thus (hopefully) reduce medical errors.
Emergency Medicine News - Alex Mohseni - Slack for Hospitals

In the article I explain the reason that such a high number of interruptions occur in the hospital workflow (because there is almost no asynchronous communication system), and how frequent interruptions have been directly linked to a high rate of medical errors.

Add this fact to the recent news that medical errors now make up third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Tech entrepreneurs who don't know or understand the real issues in healthcare often make the naive assumption that diagnosis is the major challenge in healthcare.

Part of the challenge with building such a "Slack for Hospitals" would be integration with hospital EMRs and registration systems, many of whom are not very interested in any sort of interfaces or integrations with solutions not their own. But it's time for the massive brainpower in Silicon Valley to turn away from the often meaningless applications they are focused on currently to the very real and potentially exceedingly lucrative problems in healthcare.

Tech entrepreneurs who don't know or understand the real issues in healthcare often make the naive assumption that diagnosis is the major challenge in healthcare. "If only the doctor knew what was wrong with the patient, everything would be fine." In fact, diagnosis is one of our smallest challenges. The much bigger challenges include the following (in no specific order):

  • Communication - Doctors not talking to other doctors taking care of the same patient, doctors not talking to patients, ancillary service not talking with anybody, etc...
  • Coordination of care - This is really an issue of an abundance of resources without any curation or efficient tools, combined with poor communication.
  • Access to care
  • Lack of transparency in pricing and choices
  • Not enough emphasis on prevention on healthcare complications
  • Completely broken primary care system, especially for the uninsured 
... and there are quite a few more, but these are the ones that come to mind first to me. 

I hope this post encourages tech entrepreneurs to see the opportunity for building awesome solutions in healthcare that solve huge meaningful problems with great financial rewards. 

I'm happy to chat with interested entrepreneurs for hours in detail about the above issues.

And no, simple HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions (like TigerText) are NOT "Slack for hospitals", and based on what I can tell about Stitch (, neither is it -- yet --  but I am hopeful.

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