How Technology Will Enhance Future Health Care


Doctors tend to have terrible handwriting. In fact, actual academic studies have been conducted to prove that doctors’ handwriting happens to be abnormally illegible. What if all of the valuable, hand-written information captured by doctors could be digitized? Further, digital media in hospitals is just as beneficial for the patients as it is for the doctors. When patients are able to share their illness and recovery process online, it greatly improves their well-being.

In On! The Future of Now, Catriona Campbell, founder of user-experience agency Seren, discusses a project commissioned by Microsoft to explore the ways that digital media could improve hospitals. Their initial goal was to upload charts and notes through handwriting recognition into a centralized system. This would give doctors access to unparalleled amounts of data. However, the creators of this software failed to account for doctors’ terrible handwriting and the software was unsuccessful.  According to Catriona, “Doctors’ handwriting was simply too much for the handwriting recognition software to handle. Technology’s supposed to aid us and improve our life and work, not force us to undergo time-consuming processes like attempting to alter one’s handwriting so a machine can read it better.”

When video games have more sophisticated and intuitive user-interfaces than those used by air traffic controllers or physicians, we may need to reconsider the focus of our work. In her chapter, Catriona illustrates the imperative for innovators to understand who will be using the technologies they develop — especially when the technologies have life-or-death significance.

*This post is part of a series highlighting personal stories and key themes from our new book, On! The Future of Now. Order your copy of On! The Future of now here. Proceeds to support Charity: Water.


About Catriona Campbell

Catriona Campbell is the Founding Director of Seren, a customer experience consulting firm. Catriona was one of the first inductees to the UK Digital Hall of Fame for services to digital design, accessibility and User experience. Learn more about Catriona here.

About On! The Future of Now

Published in partnership with Nokia and curated by Toby Daniels and Craig Hepburn, On! The Future of Now is a collection of essays and personal stories from leading thinkers, including best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin; Cindy Gallop, founder of Make Love Not Porn; Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed and Leah Busque, founder of TaskRabbit. On! The Future of Now is available in eBook and paperback. To buy the book and support Charity: Water, click here.

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