2014 is a Landmark Year in Medicine: More Digital Natives Practicing than Digital Immigrants

“2014 is a landmark year in medicine because it is the first time in history where there will be more digital natives practicing medicine than digital immigrants,” says Anna Clemenson (citing LBI Health, see below.)  I interviewed Anna to learn more about a new initiative, The Student Leadership Program, which will be a part of Medicine X at Stanford, September 5-7, 2014. Applications for the program are being accepted now, and will close January 20, 2014.

The Next Generation of Leaders in Medicine

“You are the next generation of leading physicians and scientists in a new era of medicine, and you are all digital natives. Your role will be progressively morphed into providing guidance, wisdom and experience on how to transform data and information to knowledge and judgment.”

– Dr. Eric Topol

Digital Native Doctor

In addition to 2014 being a tipping point for digital natives in medicine, almost half of medical students are now women. A recent study found that women outperform men on certain metrics of patient care.

It’s not the technology that will change the practice of medicine, it’s the doctors who use the technology who will end up changing it, according to Jay Parkinson MD:

My generation simply doesn’t know how to live without the Internet. However, we’re not yet leaders and technological decision-makers in our health-care system. Our parents are heads of hospitals, chairwomen of departments, and CTOs of health-care delivery networks. When this generation of boomers retires this decade, we’ll see massive change.

The age of networked intelligence will spawn a new kind of leader, according to Bryan Vartabedian MD:

Expect to see regular doctors emerge as influential not based on lists of publications but on the strength and novelty of their ideas.  Leadership will be determined in part by the capacity to leverage new tools to build, communicate and influence.

Dr. Vartabedian sees this new group of digital doctors as ePatient-centric – doctors who recognize the sovereignty of the patient and their access to information as a critical asset to care.

Anna Clemenson on Student Leadership Program at Medicine X

The Student Leadership Program intends to bring up to 10 students from around the globe to attend Medicine X to foster cultural and educational exchange, and focus on emerging technologies and participatory medicine. Anna Clemenson, currently a nursing student at the Duke University School of Medicine, is leading the initiative, along with Matt Eriendson, a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine.

Anna Clemenson

Anna Clemenson

1. What was your role in developing this initiative, and how did it come about?

I’m a former student of the AIM lab and have been involved with Medicine X since its inception in 2011. The Student Leadership Program was developed with input from myself and other AIM lab students. We all felt a need to engage students from our healthcare professions, as change in healthcare should come from all stakeholders. With a personal regards to nursing, I believe that nurses have a lot they can add to the conversation to improve healthcare.

2.  What would you like to see from this initiative?

I’d love to see engagement from all students, in learning more about how thoughtful use of patient-centered emerging technologies can help healthcare teams better work in partnership with their patients to improve care. The future of medicine is in the hands of today’s students, who are seeking to find ways to involve patients to work as partners in their own care.

3.  What are the topics that are top-of-mind for medical and nursing students today?

A lot of what we discuss in nursing school is the uncertainty in healthcare today, and the changes in store for the future. Medicine X is a good experience for students because I think it helps us understand to always keep the patient at the center of our practice, and it gives us tools to think more broadly about how we can adapt to change using thoughtful design and/or new digital technologies that are becoming increasingly available.

4. How will your generation redefine the provider/patient relationship of the future?

As we have seen at conferences like Medicine X, and the recent “Aligning Incentives Statement”, there is a movement towards participatory medicine…I’m hopeful that we, as students, will be part of this new generation of healthcare providers who embrace and support this model.

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I’ll guarantee you’ll win.”
— Patch Adams

5. How can technology help in the provider/patient relationship of the future?

At Medicine X, students will be able to learn how they might best use existing technologies like social media, smartphones and digital devices to improve healthcare engagement and delivery.

6.  What is your favorite health app? What app would you like to see developed?



I usually use FitBit and MyFitnessPal frequently to track my exercise, activity level, and diet through out the day. I like them because they’re a great way to self track and keep myself accountable!

I would love to see an app that improves and simplifies diet tracking. Most apps right now can pull nutritional information of food items from a standard database that users can contribute to, but it’s difficult to quantify food that is cooked at home or bought at a restaurant. If your particular meal doesn’t exist in the database, it can be cumbersome to enter in every amount of each ingredient to obtain an accurate nutritional profile. An app or new technology that could help streamline this would be great!

Human Connection Catalyzed by Digital Means

Roheet Kakaday, a medical student who attended Med X for the last two years and is also involved with the program, says, “At Med X, emerging technologies, futurists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and more, foster interdisciplinary thinking and networking in a way no other medical conference does.”

Kakaday explores the use digital technologies in medicine on his blog, “The Biopsy,” and recently posted this video on the power of Skype to foster human connection.

Medicine X Students Working with ePatients

Anna says students have worked with ePatients at Medicine X in the past, but the new program will take engagement a step further, “Students will be paired with ePatients to work on a scholarly project that explores how patients might work more effectively with their healthcare teams to manage their health. The results of this work will be published as papers on the Stanford Medicine X 2014 proceedings,” explains Anna. Students can also apply to present a five-minute Ignite! talk on the Stanford Medicine X main stage.

Anna’s most inspiring talk at Medicine X was Sarah Kucharski’s talk about caregivers. She believes,

The patient narrative is a powerful way to connect and communicate healthcare with the patient, and as a student it is an important early lesson that should not be forgotten. As Gilles Frydman from Smart Patients says, “There is no human beauty in Big Data! Add human stories to add context and all shines.”

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HealthIsCool is a writer and trends analyst. She writes about health innovation, wearable tech, the Internet of Things (IoT), new health technologies, and future trends. Her latest trends research includes: The Rise of Wearable Technology and Google's Ambitions in Healthcare. Follow on Twitter at @HealthIsCool.

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