Technology, Health Care, and Retirees?

The big push in health care these days seems to center around becoming more efficient and reducing costs. One way doctors and companies are doing this is by doing to digital records. It sounds simple enough and as though it will save some money in the long run for everyone involved. As someone interested in technology, I am always thinking of how to integrate various innovations into certain aspects of life.

Yesterday I was at the eye doctors, a benefit of being a PhD student=getting bad eyes, okay maybe that’s not true. But at any rate, I was interested to hear the doctor explain some of his thoughts on technology in his practice. After I had told him I would like to write a dissertation around technology and education, he proceeded to explain his thoughts on how technology is causing him problems. The problems, as he stated, include Medicare/Medicaid requiring him to move towards digital records. He explained that most of his records are hand written because as an opthamologist, he uses a lot of drawings in his client notes. He couldn’t conceive of how to move his traditional method of writing notes to the digital environment. He then went on to explain the costs of everything and in the end he stated that he is 62 years old, and doesn’t have a lot of skills.

I simply nodded and listened, but thought of several ideas that could solve this doctor’s problems. I don’t know whether the programs have been developed, and I am sure there are several variations of what I am thinking about, but if they were combined to create a new program that allowed for traditional note taking in a digital format, it would solve this problem of drawing client notes. Here is what I was thinking.

Utilizing a tablet or the iPad, a software program that allows someone to draw, could easily be used in combination with a medical records program to allow this doctor to draw his notes. I could already picture this doctor carrying an iPad around his office. Using a secure wireless network to retrieve client records and keep them up to date seems like it would be so easy. However, in the end I think it is not about the technology, but it is about the user.

Just as the good doctor said, he is nearing retirement and is unsure whether he wants to try to learn some new skills. Okay maybe he didn’t say it like that, but ultimately is that what he is saying? How many people do you know nearing retirement, in retirement, etc. that feel like they can’t learn something new. I understand if you are planning on retiring why you may not want to invest in the technology from a business perspective, but as a life-long learner, I would hope you would want to continually improve yourself.  Learning new skills helps us to stay current, healthy, and ultimately fairly happy.

My concern here is that how many people are resistant to change, even if it has the potential to produce an incredible impact? Just because you are nearing retirement does not mean you should stop learning. Stay active, stay up to date, and continue learning. What do you think? Am I totally off base here? Maybe I am, but thank you for reading my rant 🙂


About jimmysw
Associate Professor of Social Work with a focus on the Future of Social Media, Social Work Education and all things technology.

3 Responses to Technology, Health Care, and Retirees?

  1. njsmyth says:

    I don’t think you’re off base at all. There are some people who make learning a way of life. I think you said it well here: “in the end I think it is not about the technology, but it is about the user.”

    I went off on a rant recently () about the attitude toward some types of technology that some colleagues have. A friend of mine commented on people’s lack of curiosity. His comment came to mind as I read your observation that I quoted above.

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