The Sharing Economy’s Crowdsourcing of Healthcare Workflow Will Require Workflow Tech

This post is promoted by Ryan Lucas (@dz45tr: get it? > “disaster”) moderating today’s #HITsm tweetchat. His topic is The Sharing Economy in Health IT. I’ve archived his questions/topics (and my short responses) below (since they disappear from their temporary link on HL7standards when replaced by the next weeks theme).

Last year I attended a presentation titled “Transformational Impact of Cloud Labor” here in DC. Much of it was relevant to health, healthcare, and health IT workflow! I’ve been meaning to write a long post on the topic, but that will have to wait until later. For now I’m archiving some of those tweeted slides, so I can tweet a link to them during the #HITsm tweetchat, and also as a reminder to return and elaborate later. (After I wrote that, I just couldn’t resist adding more remarks: read on!)

Much as been made of the potential Uber-ization of healthcare. Who will be the Uber of healthcare? (Before that, it was who will be the Amazon of healthcare?!) The sharing economy potentially exploits a variety of sorting, matching, and transaction cost reducing online mechanisms. Online platforms sort and signal who’s available to those in need of what they supply (transportation, in Uber’s case), and create temporary virtual enterprises to reduce transaction costs.

It’s happening in healthcare too, from online medical consults, to services that match your suddenly free time to suddenly available appointment slots. However, in contrast to Uber, many healthcare workflows are much more complex, consuming many more resources, over a much longer durations, and subject to many more complexities: expertise, insurance, and regulatory.

In healthcare, complexity is often too much for even expensive humans to manage well. Those are two important drivers of healthcare cost: the intrinsically difficult nature of the managed workflows, and the intrinsically expensive nature of the human expertise manage them. As a result, mistakes occur and time and motion is wasted.

At some point (not sure if it will be a tipping point, or a much more slow, but nonetheless inexorable process) health, healthcare, and health IT will begin to leverage a variety of workflow technologies. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words, and tweeted tens of thousands of tweets, about them. But in this space, the sharing economy and the crowdsourcing of health, healthcare and health IT workflow (after all, a majority of H/HC/HIT costs are human labor) will likely be a lightweight (no install or one-click install from the cloud) participation in networks of flexible, but continually optimized, resources: people, supplies, knowledge, and experience.

Well, I’m just about out of time, if I want to show up at Ryan’s #HITsm tweetchat. But I encourage you to browse the next few slides. Who every will become the Uber of healthcare (or whatever comes after Uber) will necessarily deal with, and in some cases master, the following topics:

  • Variable cost
  • Programmatic access to human labor
  • Quality control
  • Workflow building blocks
  • Ideation
  • Freelance expertise
  • Software services
  • Microtasks

And, most important:

  • Asking the right questions
  • Selecting the right workers
  • Interating and optimizing

I’m looking forward to the tweetchat!

Archive of Ryan Lucas’ #HITsm questions for Friday, January 30, 2015:

#HITsm T1: Is a sharing economy model realistic for the healthcare industry, in whole or in part? Where? How?

As a whole, probably not at first. But for so-called low lying fruit? Of course! (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T2: What should a sharing economy model prepare for with the current status of #HealthIT and #Healthcare?

I’m a broken record on this. Move from current hoary systems to modern workflow tech in the cloud. (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T3: If a sharing economy model were to come about, who wins and who loses in #HealthIT and #healthcare generally?

Aye! There’s the rub. In the short, possibly even intermediate run, the workers. It could/would/will be wrenching. (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T4: What other technology models are out there that #HealthIT can borrow from to enable those changes?

Workflow management systems, business process management, dynamic/adaptive case management platforms. (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T5: Any other thoughts on #healthcare economic models and how #healthIT can help?

Workflow tech can’t fix screwed up healthcare economics. But that can’t be fixed w/o workflow tech. (Take me to the top of this post!)

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