Technology is often positioned as the antithesis of humanity. Technology can’t feel, can’t think, and can’t acknowledge the nuances or emotions of the humans who interact with it. Technology is sometimes introduced to replace humans – as ATMs and self-service banking websites have obviated the need for many bank tellers and call center agents.
In healthcare, we hear too many stories of doctors and nurses being pulled away from their healing purpose as they struggle to meet documentation requirements in EHR systems designed to maximize billing potential and minimize liability with little thought for humanity. Many clinicians now fear that technologies distract them from the human-to-human interactions that drive purpose, connection, communication, and collegiality.
In our view, technology has just as much potential to unleash humanity as to replace or hinder it – as long as it is applied thoughtfully. Members of the Experience Innovation Network’s Humanity and Technology Council are working on a set of evaluation criteria that will help ensure that technologies introduced into the clinical environment help to support the Connected Healing Ecosystem.
Solutions at the intersection of technology and humanity can help hospitals and care teams to:
The concepts outlined above will allow technology to support team member well-being instead of contributing to burnout. Our research shows that one of the key system-level factors influencing team member well-being is the extent to which leaders work to minimize the unnecessary trauma caused by poorly designed systems, including technology. vii
For healthcare leaders to ensure that technology enhances rather than detracts from health professionals’ healing potential, two key steps need to happen:
We envision a future in which healthcare technology decision makers consider the human impact of technology in their selection, implementation, and support processes.
In addition to the ideas outlined above, what do you see at the intersection of humanity and technology? We welcome your insights! Click one of our social media icons to start or join the conversation: #HumanizeHealthcare #H2T
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