It seemed like a simple enough idea – evaluating whether the use of virtual reality goggles would reduce the pain experienced by hospitalized patients. Yet, when Brennan Spiegel, a gastroenterologist, clinical trial expert, and digital health pioneer at Cedars Sinai tried to offer it to patients, he struggled to find takers. “No thanks,” he was told, or “Don’t want to get dizzy,” or “Don’t want to be in your experiment.” Spiegel needed to ask ten patients before he found someone willing to volunteer – and even that patient wanted to first watch the Republican Presidential Debate before using the goggles. “Could you come back later,” he asked, “maybe tomorrow?”
Far too often, the theory of digital health – the possibility of what technology could enable in healthcare – seems absurdly ahead of the day to day reality, leading technology developers to feel that providers are hopelessly enmeshed in yesterday’s tools, and providers to feel that technologists have no idea what medicine actually entails.
Spiegel seeks to bridge the gap in digital health. He is a front line physician and clinical investigator who is exploring how to bring digital health technologies into the clinical care and clinical trial setting.
As Brennan has discovered, and eloquently articulated (here and here for example; David’s take here), translating technology into practice isn’t easy, and faces a number of pragmatic barriers, as Brennan discusses in this Tech Tonics podcast. Along the way, we’ll also learn what it was like to grow up as the best friend of Mel Brooks’ kid, and what the Bristol Scale measures.
To listen to this podcast, click on the player below or find it on iTunes by clicking HERE or on the Connected Social Media website by clicking HERE; you can find all past episodes of Tech Tonics on iTunes as well.