Sunday, November 15, 2015

Computer Science, Electrical Enginers and Health Disruption

Not many physicians have a background in computer science, or electrical engineering.  However, we all are experienced with Health and Disruptive Technology.

Numerous schools of engineering are now challenging their students with electives in  health information technology.  Among these are the School of Engineering at U.C. Berkeley.

The Berkeley ENGINEER (Fall 2015) features an editorial by S.Shankar Sastry, Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering entitled "Disrupting Health Care by Design" Dean Sastry reveals that it is designed to disrupt, and not engineered to provide a smooth transition to health information technology.

Health information technology is so different from business, banking, basic science, aerospace engineering and other disciplines, requiring software to translate clinician input to usable computer language, the basic underlying code that is used may be very inefficient.

It reveals the lack of collaboration between engineers and clinicians.  Clinicians need to be involved in the education of computer science engineers. The first editions of HIT, EHRs and the like sadly reveal the failure of design parameters. The growth of HIT and computer science were and are still not synchronized.

It will require re-thinking the design process and a plan to improve collaboration of engineers and physicians on the bench of computer engineering laboratories.  The construction of software platforms for health care comes late in the game. The lack of collaboration has resulted in inefficiency and increased cost.

Clinicians and Engineers should be collaborating early in the education of both disciplines. These needs may require electives or perhaps dual majors in either discipline.

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