The YourDictionary.com definition of a geek is:
a slang word for a computer expert, someone who loves computers or someone who is socially or physically awkward.
There are many other definitions, mostly pejorative. However, the first half of this definition referencing the love for computers is the most appropriate in a modern context.
Being a health care worker, especially a clinician, is an honor and privilege in many ways. It's not just cliche, people entrust clinicians their most intimate life details. It really is an honor and a privilege granted by many people who need or want help in an intimate are of their lives.
Unfortunately, people tend to hate going to the doctors office. And, for good reason: going to the doctors office sucks!
The medical staff are often rushed and/or grumpy, people have to wait long periods of time, the care is subpar, and it costs an arm-and a leg to get these incredibly frustrating services. What is there to like? The claim that it sucks is not an exaggeration.
Three main categories of reasons for avoiding medical care were identified. First, over one-third of participants (33.3% of 1,369) reported unfavorable evaluations of seeking medical care, such as factors related to physicians, health care organizations, and effective concerns. Second, a subset of participants reported low perceived need to seek medical care (12.2%), often because they expected their illness or symptoms to improve over time (4.0%). Third, many participants reported traditional barriers to medical care (58.4%), such as high cost (24.1%), no health insurance (8.3%), and time constraints (15.6%). - Taber et al. (2015)
So, yes, health care delivery just sucks on many different levels.
The big question though, is: why does health care delivery suck?
It's a complete mess, that's why. Approximately 34% of all health care costs are administrative in nature. That's incredible!
Physicians also work at least about 50 hours per week including 1 to 2 hours each evening in their personal time finishing work, and only spend 27% of their time working with patients!
So, not only do patients hate it, so do doctors. In fact, it's been reported about 70% of physicians would not recommend their career to others.
Roadblock's to Solutions
Bureaucracy Grows, it Doesn't Shrink
We can wax philosophical all day along about shrinking costly, convoluted, and often damaging bureaucracies. But, it really doesn't accomplish much. The result is almost inevitably the same: they grow, not shrink.
With this in mind, we're stuck with the fact that administrative and other non-clinical burden's continue to increase over time. Human's can only work so fast! Something else has to give. The possible human solutions are: clinicians will work longer hours to see more people, people will spend even less time with clinicians, or some combination of those two things. Look at what we have here. Again, this solutions sucks!
Humans can create the answer, but they cannot execute it
With the above knowledge taken as functionally indisputable at this point in time, we have to find ways to tackle problems that humans are currently handling. But, faster and cheaper. How do we do that?
We use technology. That's it. Technology is the answer to nearly (probably?) all simple tasks that consume valuable human time. But, technology is driven by humans. So, we need humans who can architect and implement technological solutions.
Domain Experts are Lacking in Health Tech
The Health Tech industry is FINALLY booming. It's long overdue. We're seeing the software giants such as Microsoft taking a more direct and powerful interest in assisting with the creation of health solutions. This is great!
But, there is a shortage of people who have experience on both sides. Therefore, you end up with some very smart people working together ineffectively.
I performed a PubMed search the other day for the string:
“`neural network’ ‘hypertension’ ‘treatment’”
It yielded only 21 results on PubMed. Of those, precisely zero involves a clinical trial. Machine learning in a clinical context has had very little penetration into the world of medicine. This is honestly shocking given how well aligned the solution is to the problem.
But, this is because domain experts, and especially cross-domain experts, are lacking in health tech. It's honestly quite mind-blowing.
Purpose - GeekMD combines the passion I have for computer science and information technology solutions with my deep domain expertise.
This is where I come in. I am resolved to be part of the solution.
The solution to the disaster in health care where we lose too much clinician-patient time, and spend too much money on administrative burden is technology. Specifically, we need more leaders working at the interface between health care and technology who are appropriately trained for the task.
I (Travis Nesbit, MD) have experience in traditional hospital systems, traditional outpatient medical systems, executive health systems, health tech primary care start-up's, occupational medicine, urgent care, and telemedicine. That's a very broad, yet complimentary, clinical skill set. Additionally, I have experience developing full-stack software solutions in several different programming languages, extensive knowledge of information technology solutions in both Windows and Linux/Unix based systems, and am currently working toward pursuing a masters level science degree in a relevant field.
I am relentlessly committed to leveraging this skill set and passion for the improvement of health care delivery. It is my passion and purpose. And, if you have a problem and want to collaborate, please reach out through the contact page.