Medical Device Integration Blog

ACT! Making the Big Picture Smaller . . . and Bigger Again

Posted by Ken Choquette on Feb 27, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Capsule-Icon-ACTThink globally. Act locally. The phrase is particularly appropriate in today’s medical environment when it comes to the role of medical data in caregiving. While integrated hospital-wide device data provides physicians with a broad patient picture, as specialists they can only act on this information as it affects their own care area. They must act locally, so to speak, while keeping the big picture in mind.

But once a physician has prescribed a treatment, how does the medical team continue to act as a system? Once again, medical device data can come to the rescue—broad-based continuous patient data provides feedback not only on the impact of care in one isolated area, but on the patient overall. Did an action have unintended or unanticipated consequences beyond the expertise of the ordering physician? That feedback might prompt the doctor to take another action—perhaps make a change in the treatment plan, prescribe an additional medication or confer with another specialist.   Better information will not only allow clinicians to act, but to interact more and to react more quickly when needed.

I am reminded once again of the insightful remarks of Atul Gawande, MD, whoobserves that medicine has evolved so that too often doctors are trained to operate as “courageous cowboys” on an isolated trail focusing only on their own role in caring for patients. He notes that healthcare will improve when physicians “take a pit crew approach,” involving interaction and teamwork to effectively and efficiently maintain the human body as a well-oiled machine. In this pit crew system, members will act in small ways designed to come together to realize dramatic big picture results. In short, they will think globally and act locally to realize success.

Do your clinicians take the pit crew approach?