What is Innovation in Medicine?: UCSF Telemedicine Website

This is a site for which I did the positioning, architecture + navigation, and wrote all copy, including the blog posts (I co-produced the video, as well).

While the site may not seem like the sexiest, hottest experience, its position and claims are actually quite radical as many doctors at both institutions — UCSF and SFGH — are really thinking about medicine and technology. Which, in turn, made me think about it.

Here is one blog post from the site about design thinking.

What is Innovation in Medicine?
When we think of innovation in medicine, we think of breakthroughs in research, in drug treatments, in procedures. But we don't think about the patient's experience. We don't think about how best to deliver healthcare. And yet seemingly simple gestures such as making specialists available to the underserved via
video conferencing can save innumerable lives and have tremendous impact on quality of life.

So much of medicine turns on information and communication. Researchers speak with other researchers; doctors speak with other doctors (or they should); professors speak with students; students speak with each other, with doctors, with patients; patients speak to doctors; patients speak to each other. From one perspective, medicine is a vast network of information communication.

To state the obvious, we find ourselves amidst an explosive revolution in how information is communicated. Telecommunications have done more than dramatically recast how we do business; they have dramatically recast the very way we relate to each other, to information, to the world.

And yet medicine, conspicuously, remains way behind this revolution.

Consider, for a moment, the number of deaths and injuries suffered with doctor misdiagnosis or treatment. This is not to blame doctors per se; medicine is complex. But that's all the more reason to enable doctors to share information, to communicate with each other. Think how many deaths and injuries can be avoided if doctors speak with each other, if they share their respective knowledge, expertise, and experience.

At UCSF, Dr. Pierre Theodore, a thoracic surgeon, is creating a web-based collaboration tool that will allow doctors across disciplines to work together on a patient case (starting with tumor boards). The business world, of course, is overrun with competing collaboration tools. But in medicine, there is a conspicuous dearth — even though such an application can save lives and dramatically improve patients' quality of life.

The medical community needs to rethink what it considers innovation. Of course breakthroughs in understanding diseases and drugs and treatments are necessary. But we need to think about how we deliver our findings, how we deliver our expertise, how we actually deliver healthcare.