For a while on the internet, you could bet that almost every 20 something year old who had watched Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech in 2005 was quoting that famous phrase ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. It’s really struck a chord within me this past week.
I have attended HISA’s HIC Conference in Sydney this week (#HIC18) and it was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. They say that if you’re in a room and you’re the smartest person there, you’re in the wrong room. At the conference, I felt as if I was in the right room, there were so many brilliant minds among me that it was actually humbling to be there. I felt very lucky to have decided to attend the conference. It was akin to a ‘the more you know, the more you realise how much you don’t know’. The world of health informatics truly opened up my mind and led me to realise how much more is out there and how much more I have yet to learn and develop skills in.
This really isn’t too much of a post on UX but I feel compelled to jot down a few thoughts, as it will assist in my professional development anyway.
There are often times in every working person’s career where they have a lightbulb moment of realisation. The path of figuring out what you want to do with your career isn’t easy. We are entrusted to choose what we want to do straight out of high school, when we are green and honestly haven’t seen much of the world yet. It is only when we burst out of that bubble that we understand that there is more to the world of careers than simply those traditional jobs that we know of. Ben Chestnut, the CEO of Mailchimp, put this quite simply where our careers are never linear but more like a zig-zag line. You have to stumble a little bit, work in something to realise that you really didn’t like it in the first place to actually find out your true calling....
Harking back to the few years I have been in the workforce, I have worked as a physiotherapist and now currently within the world of health management. I fondly recall those lightbulb moments when I was a physio student... It was when I was at my first clinical rotation at an outpatient department in a hospital. I honestly wasn’t sure if I physio was the right profession for me but after seeing how much of an effect that my treatments had on my patients, I felt that it was the right decision, purely due to the fact that I had such an influence on how I could help a person with their life and their health.
The next lightbulb moment happened when I was a new graduate physiotherapist in the health system, coming to a realisation of the influential work that health managers do in the system. They may not have direct contact with patients, but they do innovative work that has direct impacts on the patients and can empower them in their wellbeing. That was when I decided to make the switch to management.
At #HIC18, I had my next lightbulb moment. HIC truly opened my eyes to the world out there with regards to health informatics. There is so much to learn and so much that we can do to create bigger and better outcomes for our patients. The future right now is unwritten and we are on the cusp of the 4th industrial revolution. The future is clear, the way we go about our lives and how we deliver healthcare to our patients will be increasingly enabled through digital means. The onus and the responsibility of care will be in the hands of the patients and we need to collaborate/co-design our solutions with patients to empower them and deliver care that is personalised and relevant.
DXC Technologies provided a workshop on how we need to drop the notion that ‘patients’ are ‘patients’ but that they are consumers and to utilise a customer centric model that is prevalent in other industries, to ensure that we deliver a solution that is targeted as opposed to poorly designed.
Dana Lewis on #OpenAPS and empowering patients to innovate
@danamlewis provided a compelling keynote on shattering the notions that patients cannot innovate because they don’t have the qualifications or this or that. Dana challenged all these entrenched views and showed the audience how she proactively managed her health by taking control of her frustrations and developed the #OpenAPS (Open artificial pancreas) that enabled her to address the issues of glucose fluctuations in her T1DM. It was absolutely mind blowing to hear how her #OpenAPS has proliferated through the international community with more than 700 people having had access to it and have used it to manage their T1DM.
Soul Machines and the Future of AI
Soul Machines, a New Zealand company, provided a jaw-dropping keynote on the technologies for artificial intelligence. As opposed to talking to a chat bot, Soul Machines have developed technology for their Virtual Humans, that have virtual nervous systems and can process talking to a real human in real time to stunning results. The application of this technology is endless in the world of healthcare, where patients in remote communities can utilise talking to a virtual human to be directed in their care, saving both time and money whilst providing a comprehensive service.
Blockchain in Healthcare - where are we going?
Another hot issue is Blockchain in health and this topic was hotly discussed in a workshop. After the rise and rise and then dramatic fall of bitcoins at the beginning of the year, Blockchain has seen it become rather famous or indeed, infamous. Akin to the Dotcom bubble of the turn of the Millenium, where people were freaking out about the WWW (yet now we see the WWW as probably one of the greatest inventions ever), blockchain is following that same trajectory. After the Dotcom bubble burst, the internet found its place and started to figure itself out and what its uses are.
Blockchain - we still don’t know what the far reaching capabilities of it is (other than with people playing around with crypto and making a lot of money), but we are traversing another horizon with it. A speaker at the workshop noted that with blockchain, eventually it’ll find its place and we will understand more of its purpose and how it can put the trust back into organisations. The applications of blockchain in healthcare and within society will drive fundamental changes. With the technology of creating transactions within an open ledger, provides integrity and trust and security to data. In a context where people are increasingly concerned with their data (as we had seen in the rollout of My Health Records in Australia), blockchain has the potential to revolutionise institution’s relationships with patients regarding their personal information.
Healthcare IT in the US
David Bates provided a compelling and comprehensive international perspective on healthcare IT advancements in the US. I know about the IOT and how we can utilise remote monitoring in the community to enhance patient’s control of their care, but this talk made me realise how many more things are out there that can empower the hospital to smartly fit out their infrastructure to their advantage to leverage the technologies of real time monitoring for enhanced patient care.
David Bates introduced technologies such as Centrella - which are smart beds in the hospital with sensors attached all around with remote monitoring smarts. In an age where patients are interacting more and more with each other on facebook and other social media platforms, David Bates challenged the audience to also stop thinking them as patients but as consumers, to create digital marketing strategies to reach out to these patients and educate them. Finally, patients LOVE data and LOVE monitoring themselves. It is an inevitable advancement due to the IOT. Open APIs are imperative to enable the revolution where it isn’t the Doctor that will see you now, it is the patient.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
And this is why this blog is titled, ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. Props to you if you managed to read all my ramblings and thoughts from late at night. Well done. But if you’re a TLDR; Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. There is so much out there to keep learning to keep improving. Don’t stay complacent in what you know, because as you continue to expand your horizons, you’ll realise how much more that you have yet to learn.
The Next Lightbulb Moment
The world of health informatics is gaining traction and I am excited to be part of it all, within the excitement and within all the challenges. I know the health system will evolve and mature to cater for the next wave of our we as consumers engage technologies for our lives but for now, there is much to do. My next lightbulb moment - health informatics and definitely, more UX. I can’t wait.