Palliative care is a relatively new concept in the field of medicine. Historically, medicine has had a primarily curative goal. Yet, instead of focusing on curing a terminally diagnosed patient, palliative care provides relief from symptoms, pain, and associated mental stress.
As with most trends in healthcare, including palliative medicine, we’re seeing an increase in the use of technology to augment patient care. We’ve seen incredible projects and ideas such as smart pill dispensers, virtual group therapy, and others. But what about the intersection of palliative care and technology?
To explore this intersection further, I hosted a Tech + Palliative Care Brainstorm session in partnership with Dr. David Bekelman, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Denver Medical School. Assistant Professor Jenny Portz, Dr. Bekelman, and I published our findings in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.
We began our one-hour session with an independent brainstorm, and then switched into a small group discussion. Participants were given a set of initial examples to get them thinking, but were encouraged to “think big.”
The ideas varied widely, from better methods of understanding advance directives (what a patient wants in the case of incapacitation), or ways to encourage terminally ill patients to find meaningfulness in their lives. Here are four of the major trends we noticed during the brainstorm session:
There are already academic and entrepeneurial ventures exploring the intersection of technology and palliative care. However, there’s still a need for more innovation and deeper analysis of the fields.
What are the highest priority ways that technology can help with palliative care? Or, where are some areas that palliative care doesn’t need technological innovation? Check out the full list in our published journal article, or don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly!
I hope this post inspires you to consider some implications of technology and end-of-life care, and opportunities for innovation. If you found this article helpful, you can clap 👏 to support.
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