Change is an event, not a process … or something

3 minute read

Tell a room full of doctors they don’t like change and be prepared to be howled down. Doesn’t mean they don’t need some help.

We here at TMR, and our sister publication Health Services Daily (hereafter known collectively as the Moose Republic), are big fans of Dr Glaucomflecken, aka ophthalmologist and part-time comedian Dr Will Flanary.  

You can find him on LinkedIn, among many other social media-type places. 

The good doctor has a way of reducing medicine and health systems down to truly digestible, hilarious bites of reality versus expectation. 

Here’s one of his most recent – a sketch, if you will, about the joys of rolling out Epic, an experience all those in NSW Health hospitals will become familiar with as time goes on. Try not to cry through your laughter, NSW folk: 

It’s a little example of something we at The Moose like to call “the doctor-change trope”. 

Our publisher Jeremy Knibbs rolled it out last weekend during our Burning GP conference while he was hosting a panel of tech bro-docs who were talking all things AI to a room full of GPs. 

“GPs don’t like change,” Jeremy said in a convenient lull. 

The room immediately began to rumble – a bit like when you’re standing on a platform in an underground railway station and you’re pretty sure a train is about to arrive. 

It was a deliberately provocative statement, to be fair to JK, and it got the desired rise out of the audience. 

One vaguely disgruntled GP said to me later:  

“Our whole lives are about change. We spend every minute of every working day trying to change something – our patients’ health, our patients’ treatment, lifestyle. Don’t tell me I can’t deal with change.” 

Another said: 

“We work in a high-stakes environment. We need things to work first time and every time. Don’t come at us with bullshit apps and programs based on no or low evidence, with no practical value. We want proven, effective, productive technology that does what we need it to.” 

AI-based note transcription – like ConsultNote and Lyrebird’s AI Scribe – will get huge uptake from clinicians, that much is clear. Why? Because they are effective and make life easier for a doctor immediately. And so far they don’t require much in the way of manual-reading to get them running, as most work with the most popular practice management software. 

The fact is, nobody likes change. It’s stressful and we all love to be comfortable and in our routines. But it’s a fact of life, for clinicians perhaps more than most.  

Patience is required. Good luck to those Epic superusers. 

Here’s something to brighten your week. Dr Glaumflecken on the joys of private equity in healthcare. 

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