5.30.2014

RN + IT = TLC

http://www.nist.gov/healthcare/images/09ITL001_LR.jpg
With apologies to my lovely wife and all others affiliated with the nursing profession, I express my disapproval of the sentiment behind this campaign by National Nurses United: "When It Matters Most, Insist on a Registered Nurse."  I don't disagree at all with the opinion that a human being trumps a computer; I just don't like the two being pitted against each other, especially when the alternative to RNs is portrayed as a dystopian, money-grubbing automaton. 

The fact of the matter is that technology does disrupt economies, and it destroys millions of jobs in the process...and this is a good thing.  Agriculture and manufacturing once employed big chunks of our society, and now they do not.  And it's not because of outsourcing but because of automation, innovation, and infrastructure.  This has created a quantum leap in our quality of life, it has freed us up for higher-end pursuits, and it is our best hope for feeding a starving world that will reach 9 billion by 2050.

Similarly, the way to the best and most health care possible is to relentlessly innovate, invest in the right support infrastructure, and throw the optimal mix of machines and humans at our most vexing medical challenges.  Diagnoses, cures, and care depend on good nurses, yes, but also on good technology.  Give me a smart nurse over a dumb workstation any day; but I prefer to have access to both, working together to figure out how to heal me and fix me. 
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