Thursday, April 5, 2012

Process vs Product

Okay, It's time to be unpopular. Mind you, I'm not trying to spit in the eye of my new found friends. But I think we're missing the boat. I read day in and day out about how physicians not involved in social media are doomed, falling behind, or will be lost in the future. As much as I'd like to pat myself on the back for becoming a utilizer, I think we're overstating our own importance.

Yes. Social media is brilliant, powerful, and can improve the delivery of our healthcare system. There's no doubt about it. But it's not a game changer. It's a process, not an end unto itself.

For some reason we keep confusing process with product. Quality healthcare is a product. It's not an electronic medical record. It's not a Twitter feed or Facebook timeline. These are tools.

I know many brilliant physicians who do not use social media. Their skills are supreme, their offices are packed, and there reputations are spotless. If their inability to adapt to todays information superhighway renders them obsolete, then only patients will lose.

I applaud those providers who are using social media to blaze new trails. I envy and imitate them.

However, when I'm unexpectedly lying on the operating table for an emergent procedure, I pray my surgeon is swift of hand, agile of mind, and well trained.

I could care less if she's on Twitter!

4 comments:

Bryan V said...

Important perspective, Jordan. Despite our irrational exuberance we need to keep a balanced, realistic view of all this.

Carl Miller, MD said...

I agree, social media is process, not product. But I think that when social media gets combined with care delivery, there is real potential to create a better product. @disruptmedicine

Heather Logghe said...

You're last line makes me smile thinking of how far we've come...Today when you pray for a woman surgeon, there's a 1 in 5* chance you'll get one! :-)

*http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_652221.html

Doug Shefsky said...

Since I work in continuous improvement and also have chronic medical issues it makes me glad that you (and others in the medical community) see this difference between product and process. It sounds like you know this but remember there are many different ways to measure process versus product performance!

Love your insights