Richard Milani, MD: Addressing a Range of Digital Skills

APRIL 26, 2019
Cecilia Pessoa Gingerich
As new uses of technology are introduced to the health care field, patients who are not as tech savvy may have concerns about being left behind. In New Orleans, Ochsner Health System created the O Bar, modeled after the Apple Genius Bar, to ensure all patients enrolled in digital medicine programs have the support they need to fully benefit from these opportunities.

Richard Milani, MD, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer and Vice Chairman, Cardiology, at Ochsner Health System spoke with MD Magazine® about how the O Bar supports those patients who rate themselves as less tech savvy.

“The beautiful thing about the O Bar is, even somebody who's completely tech illiterate, if you will, could participate in the program and we've actually measured their participation and they participate at the same level and get the same results that people that are more tech savvy,” said Milani.
 
 

How does the O Bar address differences in digital skills?

I think the one key thing about the O Bar that's important is that there are a lot of individuals, and I'll stereotype—more older than younger—that could be left out of this because they're they might have a little bit of less tech savviness, they might be frightened of technology, or they might fear that they can't do this, or they can't participate there's too much computer or IT knowledge that one would need. That all goes away via the O Bar, because now we have people in our programs in their 90's—and we actually monitor tech savviness. It's about 16% of all our participants rate themselves as not having fundamental IT skills like texting or emailing or ordering online, things like that that we sort of take for granted. Those people would normally have been left out and were it not for the O Bar, they would have been left out and the beautiful thing about the O Bar is, even somebody who's completely tech illiterate, if you will, could participate in the program and we've actually measured their participation and they participate at the same level and get the same results that people that are more tech savvy.

It's really because it's a 5-minute setup. The genius behind the O Bar can help set this up, show you how to use it until you're comfortable, and moreover, if there's any issues, come back tomorrow I'll show you again if there's any questions at all. That one thing alone has really allowed the entrance of just anybody at any age that might be not quite as tech savvy as the rest of us.

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