With prods from technological advancement and political pressure, the use of digital medicine is expected to take another leap forward this year—and hospitalists can be among those who benefit most, according to a presentation at an American College of Physicians meeting last month.
The workshop, "Wired and Wireless Health," held as part of the New Jersey Chapter regional meeting in Woodbridge, N.J., focused on three areas of health information technology (IT): social networking, applications and devices, and infrastructure. Steven Peskin, MD, MBA, FACP, says social networking Web sites like Sermo and Medscape Physician Connect offer portals for the "sharing of clinical insights and solutions to practical clinical problems in a way that promises to hone best practices."
As executive vice president and chief medical officer of Yardley, Pa.-based MediMedia USA, Dr. Peskin preaches the value of digital technology for inpatient care. Hospitalists, in particular, can use handheld devices and applications to deliver faster care and receive test results more quickly.
“There’s an app for that,” he quips, noting Modality and MedCalc. SHM is nearing launch of its new mobile resource center, which is supported by Epocrates and offers hospitalists exclusive commentary on the latest news and research in HM and hospitalist practice management.
Dr. Peskin, while an ardent supporter of the use of digital technology to improve patient care, is quick to caution that technology has its place. Privacy concerns, which are often associated with electronic health records (EHR), are a major consideration physicians should keep in mind when incorporating advances in iPhones, BlackBerrys, or other smartphones, he says.
"Digital medicine is not a substitute for clinical experience," Dr. Peskin says. "But it can improve clinical judgment and better clinical judgment. I like to say, 'Use computers for what they do well and use your brain for what it does well.'"