Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tech Culture Elite

David L. Margulius "From the Analyst"
column discusses PDA and tech attitudes among the educated elite:
A new Forrester Research survey of 1,300 doctors reports that four out of five doctors say technology "makes life easier." Although consumers as a whole are split evenly between technology optimists and pessimists, among doctors there are four technology optimists for every pessimist. And more than 70 percent of doctors said they think electronic medical records systems will help them provide better patient care and run more efficient practices.

According to the survey, doctors use IT systems constantly -- for evaluating treatment options, supporting diagnoses, getting lab results and medical records, and a host of other crucial tasks. So what gives? If doctors are so keen on IT, why do they have the reputation for being the most notorious, heels-dug-in Luddites? And why do we continue to portray them on TV as unplugged heroes -- have scalpel, will travel?

Two words: knowledge worker. "If egos were gravity," one health-care CIO recently said, "this hospital would be the largest black hole in the universe." Like consultants, accountants, lawyers, and even computer programmers, doctors are the top of the food chain of educated, can-do humanoids. Even in real life, they'll use IT systems, but the idea of letting someone else control those systems -- or of giving those systems much credit for their individual virtuoso performances -- is a nonstarter.


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