I am one of those annoying people who goes to my local coffee shop with my Macbook to type away at something. Whilst TV shows like Family Guy love to paint me as a poser the motivation is much more practical. It gets me out, it’s a change and I don’t get distracted with computer games or addictive TV shows. As for my Mac, although I can computer program I use Macs just because they’re easier and simpler. Anyone who knows my dress sense or the fact that I wait till my hair is in my eyes before getting it cut short again, knows that the majority of my choices are out of practicality.
As I sat down on this particular day noticed the guy next to me had a BMA sticker and multiple Python stickers on his Mac. Is this another clinician who can code? Turned out he was a computer scientist who inherited the BMA sticker when developing a databank for genetics. He told me that he was leaving the medical field because it was hard to innovate in. Whilst I agree with the fact that excessive regulation pushes talented math orientated grads from medical innovation, it became apparent that he was on a different level. He worked with a bioengineer on developing a distant monitoring system for COPD patients. Their oxygen sats could be monitored and logged resulting in the GP seeing them less. To them, it seemed like a good idea, to any doctor or nurse it was easy to spot why this idea was doomed to fail. Sats readings vary a lot, a poor trace will give an artificially low reading. This happens so often it’s a sign that the nurse is newly qualified if they instantly worry at a low sats reading of a patient that is sitting upright and talking to them. In-fact, I’d go further and say that most experienced students pick up on this nuance.
The shame is in the fact that real skill and talent was wasted on this venture. Parsing data to an SQL server database is not something you learn on your first day of coding boot camp. Another sad observation is that I see too many doctors and nurses state that they are not smart enough to contribute to med tech development. The fact is that if you learn a bit of coding and math you will have more value in this field than you can imagine. To end of a happy note clinicians are waking up. I have been invited to talk at the royal society of medicine, NHS heads have met me in person and offered me opportunities that are still in the works and doctors and nurses everywhere want to read my book on programming for doctors and nurses when it comes out. I am not only optimistic for the future, I am excited. Once again doctors and nurses are showing enthusiasm for adapting to the ever-changing environment.