Dr Steven Lin is a Board accredited and practicing Sydney dentist. Specialising in public health education and digital transformation in the healthcare industry. Steven is an avid preventative lifestyle ambassador and healthcare futurist advocating through digital education. Dr Lin continues to transform the Australian health field since co-founding DentalHub in 2013, introducing the dental community to the quickly evolving world of tech innovation.
How can ICT help deliver better outcomes for healthcare?
The Internet age has shifted us into a society of hyper-connectivity. The primary reason for this is the exponential drop in the cost of communication. A mind boggling representation of this is that in 2010 more data was transferred than in any previous year in human history. Yet we may not have seen the biggest shifts yet, some that may just be around the corner may be:
- Wearable Tech - this could completely change diagnostic testing where touch points located in regular clothing measure and report a constant stream of data to the patient and health practitioner without one drop of blood spilt.
- Cloud and Big Data - the mapping of the human genome means that the 'blueprint for building a person' can provide a practitioner specific information on how to treat each individual patient according to the millions of base pairs recorded on their genetic makeup.
- The Internet Of Things - the ever increasing reach of the Internet will soon mean that now inanimate objects like a kitchen appliance, will soon all be connected to the Internet in some way. This may provide us the opportunity to better understand how we interact with our environment and its implications on health.
Can you list some of the key ICT challenges faced by the health sector?
The healthcare industry has a doubled edged sword to deal with when implementing new technology. One is to embrace the rapid evolution of the tech world, the other is to responsibly comply to safety and regulation that ensure the proper implementation of healthcare protocols.
Our challenge is to understand where technology has shifted our context so far from our base-point, that even the protocols that govern our systems are in need of a new perspective. This means lifting the stigma that some health industries encounter when considering technology as being too 'flippant'.
What steps would you take for ICT success?
If you look at how technology is at present applied in healthcare, you will primarily see advancements in chair-side treatment. However the primary attribute of ICT, is the streamlining of communication.
For HealthIT to reach its true potential, we require a shift in focus of technology from treatment, to the creation of new communication interfaces between practitioners and patients in order to increase awareness and education. This has the potential to shift the focus of healthcare from reactive treatment to that of prevention, knowledge and empowerment.
Is there anything in the Creating a Healthy Lead opinion paper that surprised or interested you particularly?
Health industries have suffered a lack of clear direction as to how we should be approaching technology. Without training and expertise, the implementation of IT systems can be misdirected, ill-budgeted or poorly executed and hence often get lumped into the 'too hard' basket. The 'Creating A Healthy Lead' paper is an excellent resource for health professionals to begin to grasp what is involved in the scope of applying new technology.
To find out some other Optus Business healthcare insights check out http://www.optus.com.au/business/industry-insights/healthcare