The Intersection of Tech & Medical Education

Blog by Andrew Richards

This week on HCLDR we are excited to have special guest – Andrew Richards @andrewintech – College Technology Incubator Officer at Elson S Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University @WSUMedicine

What should we be teaching our future docs about tech in their industry?

As a technologist and entrepreneur, I look for challenges then strive to address them with innovative solutions. Over my career I’ve done this for everything from tax software to online gaming to medical devices and software. I’ve learned that technology does not apply to all challenges equally; in fact, it is very easy to create a solution searching for a problem. We see this happen time and time again in the health care industry. Search for “health care” in the iOS App Store and you will see what I mean – thousands upon thousands of apps of dubious value with many claiming to be “THE ONE”  solution to disrupt health care. It’s no wonder that doctors and other care givers are burned out with respect to technology; they have heard about “the silver bullet” solution so many times that it’s just noise to them. For the rare solution that does show promise there is the challenge of adequately adopting and deploying in a meaningful and impactful way.

Perhaps it is the drive to disrupt an entire industry with something unexpected (everyone wants to be “the Uber of health care” right? or perhaps it is the thought that we in the technology sector can solve everything with one more new app or device. As much as we try to hang on to these beliefs the health care industry is a different animal. It might appear ripe for disruption but it is structured is such a way as to prevent it. Large complex systems, bureaucracy, lack of interoperability, and a general “culture of no” stands in our way.

How do we in the technology sector (a traditionally risk tolerant industry) work to impact and improve the health care behemoth (a traditionally risk adverse industry)?

There are many approaches to this challenge. One I think will have a long-lasting impact is the evolution of medical education. In particular how can we impart a cultural change in regards to the way technology is assessed, used, and adopted in both medical education and the health care industry? Medical education gives us a unique overlap of disparate ideas – an opportunity to be forward thinking yet grounded in evidence. The ability to guide future doctors down a path that will impact health care for generations.

Of course, medical education is itself trapped in the same risk adverse environment as many health care providers. Long standing institutions “set in their ways” can be just as risk adverse as the industry of which they are intertwined. The cultural shift we so badly need in health care needs to start “upstream”. Some of the newest medical schools like the Dell Medical School at UT Austin, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University and others, are attempting to tackle this challenge head on. They are just the start.

As thought leaders and advocates from around the globe we in the #hcldr community will have a direct impact on this cultural shift. Our voices and actions matter.

Please join us on Tuesday, June 6th at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1 Are physicians and nurses given enough training/exposure to health technology as part of their education?
  • T2 Is it important to integrate tech (telehealth, AI, etc) into the medical curriculum?
  • T3 What strategies could be adopted so that med educations keeps pace with rapid change in health technology?
  • T4 To incorporate more technology into medical education, what could be removed (left behind)?


“The Mythical Man-Month”, Wikipedia,, accessed 1 June 2017

“Health care fails to adopt technology. Here are 5 reasons why”, Robert Pearl MD,, 25 September 2014,, accessed 1 June 2017

“Why there will never be an Uber for healthcare”, Tom Valenti, Techcrunch, 11 June 2016,, accessed 1 June 2017

“3 ways technology is changing medical education”, Robert M Wah MD, American Medical Association, 6 October 2015,, accessed 1 June 2017

“Using Technology to Meet the Challenges of Medical Education”, Phyllis A Guze MD, Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 2015,, accessed 1 June 2017

“The Need to Incorporate Health Information Technology Into Physicians’ Education And Professional Development”, David Blumenthal et al, HealthAffairs, March 2012,, accessed 1 June 2017

“How colleges are incorporating health IT into nursing education”, Katie Dvorak, FierceHealthcare, 9 March 2015,, accessed 1 June 2017

Image Credit

Tiered Classroom – Wikipedia

One comment

  1. Would be really interested in hearing more about T2 & T4. Those would make for great blog post.

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