The 'Digital Dystopia': 4 Thoughts from AMA CEO Dr. James Madara

Akanksha Jayanthi | Becker's Health IT & CIO Review | June 13, 2016

Not all digital tools are created equal, and some of these tools are detrimental to patient care. This was the message James Madara, MD, executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association, expressed in his address at the 2016 AMA Annual Meeting. Dr. Madara compared the current digital health landscape, "something I might call our digital dystopia", to the "quackery" of snake oil remedies.Here are four thoughts from Dr. Madara's address.

James Madara, MD1. Productive and useful digital tools are mixed among products that impede care. "We have really remarkable tools. Robotic surgery, new forms of radiation therapy, emerging biologics. And we live in a time of rapid development in the digital world. Telemedicine is an example, discussed in detail by this house. Appearing in disguise among these positive products are other digital so-called advancements that don't have an appropriate evidence base or that just don't work that well or that actually impede care, confuse patients and waste our time. From ineffective EHRs to an explosion of direct-to-consumer digital health products to apps, some of which are poor quality — this is the digital snake oil of the early 21st century."

2. An effective digital future is not out of reach. ...