• Adopting technology into medicine is still a challenge

A ‘productivity paradox’ could be the reason why adopting technology into the medical field is such a challenge, according to Robert Wachter MD, professor of medicine at the University of California.

Professor Wachter defines the ‘productivity paradox’ as the lag between the adoption of technology and the realisation of productivity gains. He is currently leading a review of computer systems across the NHS, with the aim of helping the NHS embrace technology on a wider scale.

The author of Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, Wachter said that when stakeholders have an interest in the old ways of working, technological innovations will always struggle to pick up steam. “The politics of changing things in a radical way are very complex,” he said. 

Professor Wachter adds: “You need two keys to resolve the paradox. One of them is the technology, which of course needs to get better. But the second is that the work needs to be reimagined.

“You can’t just recreate your analogue processes with technology, without rethinking them. You need a new generation of leaders who are not wedded to a certain way of thinking, who are willing to challenge existing ways of working that are just no longer fit for purpose.”