Medical practice and research are inconceivable today without electronic computing and communication tools. Digital machines do many tasks orders-of-magnitude better, faster and more accurately than humans.
Still, there are functions critical to the healthcare endeavor that people do much better than machines, things like: understanding and using natural language; perceiving what is unexpressed; taking into account values, culture, ethics, and human relationships; touching and healing. For the foreseeable future, the "smartest" computers will be no match for human beings when it comes to performing these most anthropic functions.
American healthcare is at a critical juncture. Providers and patients are increasingly frustrated by degradation of the human relationships that lie at the core of the medical practice. Technologies, such as the computerized medical record, get much of the blame for intrusion into the patient-provider relationship. However, it is not technology itself that is to blame. The fault lies with how systems are conceived, designed, and deployed.
This book analyzes how to organize the work of healthcare in a way that uses machines to do what they do best, thereby freeing humans to do what we do best. Smart use of electronic technology is crucial to the success of any bid to fulfill the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s triple aim to make healthcare more effective, efficient, and humane.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Logical Conclusions: How Modern Medicine Fits Into Western Culture. What Computers Do Better Than Humans. Technology. What Humans Do Better Than Computers. Data Versus Story. Economics. Security and Privacy. Electronic Health Record. Patient Care. Telehealth. Public Health. Research. Education. The Connected World of Patients.
Dr. Marc Ringel earned his undergraduate degree with honors from Tulane University. As a philosophy major he became especially interested in the history of science and in the "mind-body problem," issues that he has continued to examine throughout his career, from the point of view of a practicing physician and teacher. After driving a Chicago Transit Authority bus for the summer, he enrolled in the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine. Then he did a rotating internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Ringel became a board-certified family physician in 1979. He earned a Certificate of Special Qualification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2012.
On a two-year assignment with the National Health Service Corps Marc served as one of just two physicians in Yuma, Colorado a town of 2000 people. Professional isolation served to underscore practicing physicians’ need for an information system to support them. His second professional publication, which appeared in the Journal of the Medical Group Management Association, was about how to turn journal articles into files suitable for immediate reference by a busy clinician [Ringel, M.A. Filed for easy reference. Journal of the Medical Group Management Association, 1980, 27(1), 40-41.]. Ever since then Ringel has tracked the progress of medical information technology as it has moved from paper-based to networked electronics-based systems. In 1993 he published Accessing Medical Information from a Desert Island with Telephone Service [Ringel, M.A. Accessing Medical Information from a Desert Island with Telephone Service: How to Get and Organize the Information You Need to Practice Most Effectively. Greeley (Colorado): Desert Island Press, 1993.]. He co-authored with Health futurist, Jeff Bauer, Telemedicine and the Reinvention of Healthcare [Bauer, J.C., and Ringel, M. Telemedicine and the Reinvention of Healthcare: The Seventh Revolution of Medicine. Burr Ridge (Illinois): McGraw-Hill, 1999.].
For most of his career Dr. Ringel has written, spoken and consulted on issues related to medical informatics and telemedicine.
Marc has extensive practice experience, including: two years in Yuma; five years in his own family practice in Ripon, Wisconsin; nine years as a faculty member of North Colorado Family Medicine Residency Training Program in Greeley; fifteen years at Brush (Colorado) Family Medicine. Most recently he served for three years as medical director of TRU Hospice of Northern Colorado.
He has been a teacher of medical and nurse practitioner students, of family medicine residents, and of practicing physicians. He works a consultant in the field of Continuing Medical Education.
Dr. Ringel has served on the governing boards of Centennial Area Health Education Center, Colorado Health-OP (cooperative health insurance company), the Partnership of Academics and Communities for Translation of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and on community advisory boards for High Plains Research Network and the University of Northern Colorado School of Nursing.
Marc has lived in Greeley, CO since 1985. His hobbies include cycling, hiking, reading, gardening, photography, writing and jazz (unfortunately, just listening). He has three children and one grandchild.