It is fitting that on a Wednesday night in the basement of a Dublin pub (stags head), doctors, caregivers, academics, optimists and entrepreneurs gathered together to plot the digital healthcare revolution, a Health 2.0 Dublin Meet-up. The pub was packed, the wifi signal was low, but the crowd was engaged. Digital Healthcare is about empowering patients and clinicians, transforming our healthcare the way the rest of our lives have been transformed through technology (IPhone, Facebook, Twitter and Apps).
The key note talk by Dr John Dinsmore (Trinity College Dublin) talked us through data and insights from his projects, he focused in on the “patient experience”. His mantra “it’s not about cool technology; it’s about changing the patient experience”. He showed a photo of his grandparents standing together, then he described the back-story of the photo, how his grandma had been confined to a wheelchair for 60 years due to a disability. When he asked her what is what like to be confined to a wheelchair, her response was “I’ve never been confined”. When he asked another elderly patient to describe how they cope with the challenges of ageing they responded “in my mind I’m still 23”. His point was clear, we can’t confine or limit patients we work with to our perceptions and reality. He advised developers to ask the hard questions and put aside limiting assumptions when developing apps and new technologies.
Many feel the digital health revolution will need to stay underground for a bit longer…too many entrenched interests, still too unproven. So for now we will keep it quiet and slowly infiltrate the public hospitals. We will not yet make any proclamations or take the battle into the open but rather organise in secret places (twitter). The digital health revolution should be won without a shot ever being fired.