IdeaCity 2016: What is the Future Role of Doctors?

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Moses Znaimer’s ideacity, the annual three-day orgy of intellectual meandering, enlightenment and insights—along with a whole lot of schmoozing, entertainment, fun and partying—begins at 9 a.m.Wednesday at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto.

It ends Friday evening with a no-holds barred blast at the Zoomerplex in Liberty Village.

Among the speakers: Dr. John Reeves, physician and managing director at Cossette Health, a digital innovation company.

Here’s a preview of what he’ll be talking about at 5 p.m. Wednesday at ideacity.

Because digital innovations are disrupting health care, and will continue to do so in a big way, doctors need to buy into the disruption and use it to empower themselves and their practice of medicine.

On why Dr. Google needs to be put out of business: “Physicians won’t be supportive of digital efforts that are counterproductive,” says Dr. Reeves. “When my first patient who came in (with material from the Internet), I spent most of the appointment erasing bad information. This is the curation part that’s so important. Patients ask, ‘Where can I go online to get credible information? What app should I use?’ Doctors don’t have time (to be Internet guides). Once this access to credible information is resolved, you’ll see the power of the digital world explode.”

On the acceleration of health care technology: “In the taxi, travel, and hotel industries, dramatic transformation has already taken place, not from within, but from outside. Tech experts understand this: we’re never starting from scratch. Uber is not building cars or creating the GPS. They’re connecting the dots on a lot of technology. Now that process is moving into health care. We’ll see a dramatic change in the next couple of years.”

“Our belief is that we’re going to see disruption not just from outside but that doctors, pharmacists, nurses will be creating technology solutions—a sea change where doctors say, ‘Now is the moment when I need to take responsibility for bringing technology into the health ecosystem.”

“If transformation happens inside the system, doctors can drive technology in a way that drives their value. Now, a doctor will take an anecdotal history from the patient. He doesn’t know the patient’s genome, or the history of others with the same health issues and what has worked for them. The future for health care is genomics and personalized, targeted treatment. This will increase the power of the doctor a hundredfold. If doctors lead this charge into technology now, they’ll be able to deliver amazing health care.”

But won’t people be able to access the technology themselves, without using the physician as a middleman?

“The middleman is required,” insists Dr. Reeves. “Technology in health care won’t go as far as the Uberization of doctors. The practice of medicine is science and art.”

Technology can augment the science, says Dr. Reeves, but it can’t replace the art. He doesn’t foresee “the devaluation of the role and power of the patient/physician relationship. Patients require motivation and activation. The trick now is to marry the technology and the art, to use technology to allow doctors to focus more on the art.”

Check out Dr. Reeves’ talk here: