Clay Shirky believes that the computer-led revolution in health care has already begun. And we won't get value from health automation unless we listen to that revolution.
In the policy journal Health Affairs, Shirky and Carol Diamond write that social networking is a key benefit of the computer revolution and that other efforts must be directed toward accepting that, not resisting it.
"Institutions are trying to prevent Health 2.0 from happening," he told The New York Times. They don't understand that patients can already self-organize, and that they can't steer the conversation or control the systems where it happens.
He offered the example of Zimmer Holdings, which faced ruin earlier this year when it ignored the complaint of a single orthopedist, who simply posted his complaint letter online, leading to the suspension of a key product.
The main thing to undestand is that linking computers and data is secondary to linking people. Health systems must be used to humanize the health process, or patients will simply bypass it, as they are now doing.
It is the same force that is transforming education, journalism and government, the power of people, once connected, to bypass gatekeepers and demand change. Once the process is underway the responsibility of organizations is to adapt.
Connect the people without the machines and you get an underground movement. Connect the machines without the people and you get nothing. Connect both to gain meaningful change.