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Digital Disruption: Lessons Learned

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PhotoHandler.ashxThank you to Bob Wachter, who opened a new season of Grand Rounds for the UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. His talk was entitled, “How Technology is Changing the Practice of of Medicine: Lessons, From, and For, Radiology.”  

The lecture provided both personal and professional references that made it accessible to audiences with or without an IT background. It covered the advanced role of radiology in the digital transformation of health care, on the one hand. On the other, it addressed the fact that the health care industry is largely behind others when it comes to moving in a seamless manner from analogue to digital access to information.  

This prompted me to ask him about the lessons learned from industries outside health care, with two questions in particular: “In what industries did digital transformation happened more quickly?” And, “What are the takeaway lessons for the health care industry?”

His response surprised me with its sweeping boldness.  He cited the financial services industry, and said there is one thing that enabled the large-scale change in other industries: a total change in management.  There was a long pause. When I pressed on, asking if the health care industry needed to hire for other functions and training such as engineering, he said this was not necessarily the case, in his experience. Instead, those in the health care industry today need to deeply understand IT, and those in IT need to deeply understand health care.

For high-level recommendations regarding how to make this happen at a board level, reference this Russell Reynolds piece, citing the role of “digital NEDS” to help spearhead needed digital disruption.


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