Technology in Health: Fear, Resistance and Risks

Technology in Health: Fear, Resistance and Risks

First published on Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin – August 4th, 2015


There is a lot of resistance in organisations considering integration of informatics into their systems; whether it is electronic health record management systems, telehealth or medical devices. Resistance takes the form of red tape and budgetary restraints but more prevalent is the attitude that digitisation of the healthcare industry will bring more harm than good.

Young clinicians are driving reform. They are noted disruptors and innovators, and want change to happen in the health tech space. They see a lot of resistance to change as a basis of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of risk, fear of failure. As one Health Informatics Conference (HIC) 2015 delegate pointed out, to err is human – but for a machine to make a mistake is unacceptable.

When it comes to setting standards for e-safety and privacy regulations in healthcare settings, it is important to consider the risks involved in setting up an integrated health IT system.

But what are the risks of doing nothing?

Are we going to continue resisting change because we have always used a system with paper files? Because we are scared of job losses? Because we don’t understand the new technology?

What about the positives? What about instant access across the whole hospital (or health network) to a patient’s entire health history, without a doubt as to medication they have been prescribed? Or new jobs emerging from the health tech market? And just as we would trust another specialist from outside our own medical field, why not trust a software specialist?..