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Patient Safety in the modern clinical encounter

Seeking the right balance of direct patient care and technology - ‘A Patient’s Experience’.

Photo of Robert J Rodgers
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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Seeking the right balance of direct patient care and technology - ‘A Patient’s Experience’. The above illustration is from a patient’s perspective of how service is delivered in a hospital. It is a dark representation that captures the isolation experienced during assembly line wait, limited physician touch, and the uncertainty of what is to come. Patients are more susceptible to harm now than ever! In our efforts to modernize the clinical encounter we have designed a system of care that has layers of medical devices monitoring and administering care, big data including the person’s sequenced genome, embedded artificial intelligence / machine learning services, and automated processes - an approach that is less human. The evolutionary byproduct puts more patients at risk due to insufficient medical device security, poor cybersecurity hygiene, lack of privacy and inadequate interoperability. Information Security Offices are forced to be reactive, rather than being positions to be proactive. They have yet to realize that they play a valuable role in the conversation of value-based care. My inspiration came from a four week stay in the intensive care unit of a level 1 trauma hospital following a life altering accident. During that initial stay I was not lucid but I was trying to understand my environment. I only knew I was paralyzed

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

Through my own introspection, I have learned to better empathize with patients and their families through their entire healthcare journey. The process of taking this dream into an illustration, helps me relate to my own experience of fear, loneliness and uncertainty. This is my interpretation of the healthcare system and while it is not literal, it is quite accurate of the emotions I felt while I was in my first 30 day stay in a level 1 trauma center intensive care unit. For me the “ah-ha” moment, was the warmth and caring that I felt when it was my turn on the assembly line. The providers and clinical staff gave me hope, peace and healing while in their presence. I had created this recently but have never shared it with the public. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn more about myself and continue to serve others!

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

My name is Robert, I’m an advocate for better patient safety through improved medical device security. As we see the proliferation of IoMT devices, I believe there is an incredible opportunity for us to have an impact on clinical outcomes and value-based care. In my early career, I was an aspiring young professional in information security and IT operations. After a traumatic spinal cord injury in 2008, I was left paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair. Since then, I have repurposed my career to lead nationally recognized health systems to address inefficiencies, inequity, and inequality found within healthcare delivery. These initiatives range from reducing hospital acquired conditions, patient safety risks and lowering “total cost of care” by improving clinical workflow, revenue cycle processes, cybersecurity approaches and coaching continuous improvement. I am also active in leading a diversity resource group focused on workforce inclusion and better serving our community.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

I believe this is a good opportunity to help provide a new lens for how developers and cybersecurity practitioners view patient safety while influencing healthcare professionals on the necessity of information security. My hope is to meet new individuals and organizations who share my same passion! At the very least maybe this illustration serves as a reminder that when someone is seeking care they tend to be in a vulnerable place. Let’s do great by others!


What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have considerable experience and/or knowledge in the cybersecurity field.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a cybersecurity professional with an interest in visuals.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • In the news

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • United States of America

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Photo of Daniel Marner

Hi Robert. Great visualization. It really woke me up. Although I am aware that most hospitals are in a bad condition regarding IT and IT security, I can empathize with your perspective of a patient. I had a similar experience, but not that drastic. Although, sitting in the emergency ward next to an unlocked windows XP with a note attached to it saying "reboot the system daily" was my personal nightmare.
Regarding your idea, I would suggest to insert a spotlight shining on the single patient currently receiving care, highlighting him, the persons around him and the devices around him. Maybe even create a single bridge only to this one patient.

Photo of Robert J Rodgers

That is a good suggestion Daniel Marner ! Thank you for sharing your experience as well. The irony of what you shared is that so many medical devices run Windows XP or some even Windows NT! Can you imagine how dangerous it is not to harden these devices and control physical access? As we are sending patients home with devices we are having to educate to them not to use them to surf the internet!

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