Guide and Guardian – Healthcare is at a crossroads. There is currently such an immense volume of knowledge relating to wellness, illness, disease and clinical management that it is now impossible for any one provider to bring it all to bear in the service of the individual patient. The gap between what one provider knows and what can be known is growing exponentially. The result is an ever widening “knowledge gap” that is resulting in less than optimal care for many patients. Challenged to keep abreast of this explosive growth in knowledge, we have even less time to provide comfort to our patients. The result is professional dissatisfaction and loss of patient confidence in the healthcare system. At the same time costs are rising at a time when more and more people are unable to afford health coverage. We are also facing grave time and content challenges in training our next generation of physicians. Assaulted on all fronts, we have reached the limits of what our traditional healthcare model can accomplish.
Medical science is decision making – problem solving on behalf of our patients. If Information Technology is to play a role in solving these many challenges, future systems must be able to optimize our decision-making – increase our ready fund of knowledge, identify unrecognized patterns of illness, and pre-process raw data into a useable format. It must provide these services at the bedside when critical decisions are being made. It must not identify problems after the fact – it must preempt them.
Our physician role used to be to serve as “Guide and Guardian” for the afflicted. But the complexity of modern decision-making and unnecessarily complex external business practices has made it next to impossible to perform that duty. Lifecom was founded in order to develop Information Technology software solutions that can help restore the balance in clinical practice needed to return to our traditional role in this ever more complicated environment. Such a system addresses the many problems that we face while preserving the best of our traditions. These are trying times to be a physician. But as long as we remain open to innovation, embrace the new when it is of benefit, and keep the needs of our patients at the fore, we will always find our way home.
Stephen Jay Datena, M.D.