by Dr. Scott Erdley – Senior Editor
Erdley, S. (2013). Future Column – v201301 Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 17 (1), Available at http://ojni.org/issues/?p=2386
Not withstanding the current / ever-present fiscal crisis here in the US this column will take the opportunity to once again venture into the realm of possibilities related to hardware and software. Previous conjectures, thoughts, and musings are disavowed and disowned; new ones are up for consideration as well as how such hardware and or software will impact use of said technologic developments in health care.
Social media continues to reign as supreme monarch (or emperor, your decision). Society has uncovered how to maintain its respective socialness using available tools. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, de.li.cious, pinterest and so many more social ‘tools’ remain the rage. Healthcare is starting to realize these are tools of care, applied in an appropriate and useful manner, for facilitating patient and provider communication. Example #1 is Webicina, the brainchild of Dr. Bertalan Mesko, MD, PhD launched in 2008. Webicina is a tool organizing social media health information for its users (providers or patients). Check it out if you have not yet done so – http://www.webicina.com.
Software, too, is taking aim at social media tools. Apple’s iOS continues to integrate many social applications into its operating systems (both mobile OS and desktop such as Mountain Lion). Apple continues to blend its different system versions into a future one system able to provide a single ‘same’ experience across different hardware environments. Microsoft released its view of the future in Windows 8 – suitable for mobile and desktop environments. The actual interface is a bit different with tiles (or squares) of summary information of various applications viewable by users at a single glance. Clicking, or touching, the tile opens up the specific application. Google, with its Android OS, is gaining ground on both Apple & Microsoft systems.
Hardware is shifting focus from desktop, in part, to mobile devices. Once software companies are now engaged in competition with the Apple model (building own devices aka controlling hardware AND software). Microsoft is now producing a hardware product to take advantage of its upgraded OS – Windows 8. The ‘Surface’, a tablet / laptop hybrid, is now on the market running the full version of Windows 8. This hardware employs both keyboard and touch screen interfaces. Google, with its fairly recent acquisition of Motorola, is now shifting its hardware focus into the mobile arena, hoping to catch Apple. Bottom line – technology is slowly moving towards ubiquity and sameness. Like automobiles are now ever-present so, too, will be computational devices and the ability to access information wherever and whenever. Of course, there are 2 fundamental issues still not decided – controlling access to the ‘Net’ and power for devices.
So, where does this leave health care? How does this shifting of operating systems and hardware impact care? How much does hardware and software really impact providers, care and patients? At this point I only have questions and not answers.
On a short and separate note the health informatics community is poorer because of the absence of 2 gentlemen. James ‘Jim’ Turley recently retired from teaching and research at University of Texas Health Science Center. He had a long and distinguished career in health / nursing informatics. I count myself among the more fortunate of people to know Jim. He is one of those rare people able to compel one to not only think outside of the box but to just plain toss the box away. Conversations with Jim were just one way for him to get you to deeply think and ponder fundamental issues regarding life let alone care and technology. ‘Stimulating’ is an understatement of conversation with Jim.
The community also lost Derek Hoy. Derek was also a unique individual who moved on way earlier than many would have anticipated or liked. Derek, a true early adopter of technology, was not only a whiz when whiz was not fashionable but also a genuine nice guy who always put others first. He was the kind of person who couldn’t say no to almost any request. In addition to being a consummate professional and technical whiz Derek was also a musician of repute. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of hearing Derek in his role as musician. Many in the informatics continue to share their memories of Derek at https://hackpad.com/Some-memories-of-Derek-Hoy-6dAorTkGiEP. It is a really touching ‘living’ memorial to Derek. So long, Derek.
See you around, Jim. We’ll miss each of you.
Feel free to share thoughts, opinions and personal perceptions regarding any of the above with me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and or on the OJNI website!
Until next time – Scott