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Talkers and Transformation

No one would argue the healthcare IT industry is undergoing a huge transformation. Or is it? For the past 12 years, I’ve worked for healthcare IT organizations supporting this transformation.  Recently I had the opportunity to share about one of the innovative solutions I am fortunate to be bringing to market in support of this transformation.  What I found is we still have a ways to go to make this transformation real to Joe Patient.

I’ll explain by sharing a recent conversation.  I was on a flight and found myself sitting next to a ‘talker.’  You know them, they sit next to you and start chatting you up . . . what do you do? . . . who do you work for?  So, finding myself without my earbuds (the universal do-not-disturb symbol for air travelers) I played along.  I answered the talker’s questions – I work for AT&T, in healthcare IT (yes, AT&T has a healthcare practice), and specifically work on cloud-based solutions.  I noted we recently launched a service that allows hospitals to put medical images in the cloud.  Polite nods from my talker.

Then, my ‘talker’, relates a recent experience he had with a highly reputable healthcare system which was anything but innovative or transformational, and yes, it involved medical images.  To support the diagnosis of his medical condition, his physician ordered an MRI and he was referred to a specialist.  He went on to explain that I asked if his specialist showed him his medical images during the office visit and his response was, ‘they can do that?’

He went on to say the specialist stated his images were in the hospital’s system and that he didn’t have access to that system.  The talker shared that he had to miss some business travel until his specialist had received the images from the hospital and his specialist released him to travel.

So this example is just one of many examples of how we are far from finished in transforming the industry. The talker was enthused as I noted that what he experienced doesn’t have to continue. It is one of the areas the industry is addressing through cloud-based solutions for managing medical images  that are transforming the industry.  I shared that one of the services AT&T is bringing to market – AT&T Medical Imaging and Information Management – is a service that allows physicians to access and view medical images from virtually anywhere and on virtually any device (smart phone, laptop, desktop).

I became the ‘talker’ for the rest of our short flight – talking about how AT&T helps keep medical images highly secure during both transmission and while they reside at rest in the cloud.  I also talked about how physicians can look at images at the same time and consult and confer on patient diagnosis.  Then I continued talking about how physicians can view images in the palm of their hand on iPhones, iPads and Android devices.  Then I wrapped it up talking about how patients don’t have to put their lives or business on hold while their specialist waits for access to medical images.

Talking about transformation doesn’t get us closer to transformation, but who can argue that we’ve got something transformational to talk about?  I know we can’t stop until the transformation is done – and we’ve still got a ways to go.

What about you? What areas of health care would you like most to see improved where technology can help? What do you like to talk about regarding heath care? We look forward to your comments.

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More Stories By Steve Caniano

Steve Caniano is VP, Hosting, Application & Cloud Services at AT&T Business Solutions. As leader of AT&T's global Hosting, Application and Cloud infrastructure business, he is instrumental in forging key partner alliances and scaling AT&T's cloud services globally. He regularly collaborates with customers and represents AT&T at key industry events like Cloud Expo.