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Misinformation in the Age of Digital Transformation in Healthcare
"In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, access to accurate and comprehensive information empowers patients, providers, and policymakers alike. Embracing transparency fosters trust, facilitates informed decision-making, and enhances patient outcomes. Through open data sharing and clear communication, health IT professionals can drive innovation, improve interoperability, and address privacy concerns responsibly. Transparent practices enable the discovery of actionable insights, driving evidence-based care and reducing inefficiencies. Join Dr. G in the movement for patient engagement, where data-driven solutions and collaborative efforts pave the way to a healthier, more interconnected future for all." — Dr. G
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PRAISE FOR 'DEAD WRONG'
“It is increasingly clear that misinformation poses a threat to every pillar of society, but the stakes are especially high in medicine. With refreshing clarity, Dead Wrong spotlights the challenges of separating fact from fiction when it comes to our healthcare. Dr. Geeta Nayyar isn’t satisfied with simply defining the problem. She merges her clinical experience and boardroom expertise along with her team’s journalistic skills to offer practical solutions and chart a better path forward. Healthcare and policy leaders would be wise to take note.”
DR. SANJAY GUPTA
Chief medical correspondent, CNN
Chapter 1: A Fatal Misconception
Most often, misinformation’s victims are trying to take control of their health. They are doing what they think is right, but often reach a reliable source of information too late or struggle to reconcile with the dissonance between misinformation and the accurate source, leading them to resist life-saving treatment plans.
Chapter 2: Pandemic of Lies
Misinformation, like a real virus, needs a conducive environment and hosts to spread. Our modern society provides both and is a perfect breeding ground for three reasons: misinformation is profitable, misinformation provides opportunities for bad actors to punch above their weight and speed up societal breakdown, and misinformation thrives in the digital spaces society increasingly relies upon.
Chapter 3: Our Tainted History
Disinformation has been with humanity for over 2,000 years. From as early as the Trojan War to the Black Death, Spanish Flu, Polio, and beyond—each case studied suggested that misinformation was timeless, not the byproduct of a digital age gone awry. People and their motivations and misguided beliefs, not technology, seem to be the root of the problem. Still, something has indeed changed.
Chapter 4: New Traumas, Old Wounds
Full of high points, American history is also riddled with high-profile mistakes and the innocent people who paid for them. Misinformation doesn’t just create fresh trauma, it surfaces old wounds for marginalized communities. When healthcare organizations fail to meet people’s reasonable expectations for accessible, culturally relevant health information, people turn to accessible, culturally relevant misinformation instead. That’s not an individual failure. It’s the byproduct of a healthcare system where “talk to your doctor,” isn’t always realistic advice.
Chapter 5: A Shock to the Healthcare System
During the pandemic’s darkest days, skyrocketing demand forced U.S. hospitals to ration care. Staffing and supply shortages played a large part, but it was also likely that fewer people would’ve required hospitalization had it not been for disinformation and misinformation. Beds, ventilators, personal protective equipment—the more people who became swept up in conspiracy theories, the lower everyone’s odds of accessing care. At the same time, physicians were losing trust in executives at hospitals, insurers, and government agencies—the people running the U.S. healthcare system.
Chapter 6: Trust and Empathy
Empathy is more than a soft skill, more than a feel-good message that goes nowhere. It’s a vital tool in empowering healthcare organizations to deliver not just care, but actual caring—and that’s essential to building trust and beating back misinformation. People whose clinicians are trained communicators don’t have to leave the clinic wondering what’s really going on with their health.
Chapter 7: Reverse-engineering Dark Magic
When someone begins the descent into misinformation, they often do it alone while staring at their smartphone. They might have a friend or two who reinforce the person’s developing belief system. To combat misinformation—to bring that person back from the edge—requires its own ecosystem, spanning healthcare and technology, the C-suite and developers’ desks, doctor’s appointments and digital conversations. Deprogramming at scale won’t happen by accident.
Chapter 8: Healthcare’s Human Stories
Reasons to believe are compelling evidence that a brand can deliver on its promise. In healthcare, our technology, academic achievements, highly skilled practitioners, and commitment to research, development, and innovation signal that you’ll get the high-quality care you deserve. But despite these reasons to believe in healthcare, healthcare brands often fail to uphold their most basic promises to care for and about the people they serve. That’s not just a brand expert’s worst nightmare, it’s a betrayal of purpose and trust that leaves the industry vulnerable to the worst effects of misinformation. Patients build emotional connections with healthcare organizations during online searches, in conversations with friends, from advertisements, on social media, and while watching TV—long before they step foot in a doctor’s office. Healthcare leaders must prioritize these moments, too. Only sound branding, storytelling, marketing, and advertising can make that happen.
Chapter 9: The Pursuit of Change
Healthcare had undergone intense, polarizing changes in the past. Not long ago segregated hospitals dotted the nation, seniors struggled to afford doctor’s visits because Medicare didn’t exist, and an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. All these changes materialized despite doubt within healthcare, political opposition, or both. If you wait for perfection, you might end up waiting forever. Caught in a nonstop cycle of disinformation, we don’t have that kind of time.
Chapter 10: Doing No Harm
Misinformation and disinformation are among the greatest threats to patient health, clinician health, and the health of the U.S. healthcare system. To abdicate responsibility is to do harm—to admit failure, an unworthiness to serve, and a fatal disconnect from reality. In healthcare’s fight against misinformation, doing nothing means losing everything. But doing no harm means doing everything we can, right now. Each time we blame-shift, point fingers, or throw up our hands, we’re lying to ourselves. In denying our duty to address misinformation, healthcare leaders of all ranks and roles support the spread of misinformation, becoming its vectors and victims. In the bright future, we intervene before our misinformation illness becomes terminal. We save healthcare and society from the brink of death.
HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS NEED TO COME TOGETHER FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, access to accurate and comprehensive information empowers patients, providers, and policymakers alike. Embracing transparency fosters trust, facilitates informed decision-making, and enhances patient outcomes. Through open data sharing and clear communication, health IT professionals can drive innovation, improve interoperability, and address privacy concerns responsibly. Transparent practices enable the discovery of actionable insights, driving evidence-based care and reducing inefficiencies. Join Dr. G in the movement for transparency in healthcare, where data-driven solutions and collaborative efforts pave the way to a healthier, more interconnected future for all.
AI IS FOREVER CHANGING HOW WE STAY HEALTHY
As AI technologies increasingly permeate healthcare, understanding their applications and limitations becomes paramount. AI-driven diagnostics enhance early disease detection, personalized treatment plans, and predictive analytics. Embracing tech literacy empowers patients to actively engage in their well-being through wearable devices, telehealth solutions, and health monitoring apps. Healthcare providers benefit from streamlined workflows, data-driven insights, and improved patient outcomes. However, ethical considerations, data security, and potential biases demand awareness. Embracing AI's potential while addressing its challenges ensures a future where technology complements human expertise, creating a healthier society through informed decision-making.
DR. GEETA NAYYAR
Geeta Nayyar, MD, MBA, is a globally recognized healthcare technology leader steering the industry toward a new era. The former chief medical officer of Salesforce and AT&T and a consultant to the industry’s most influential organizations, Dr. G leverages new innovations, including artificial intelligence, to achieve previously unimaginable health and business outcomes. She serves on the board of the American Telemedicine Association.
Dr. G is the author of the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Dead Wrong: Diagnosing and Treating Healthcare's Misinformation Illness, a post-pandemic look at the rise of medical misinformation in the digital age. In the book, she shows how healthcare organizations can apply emerging technologies to improve health literacy and advance strategic business goals.
Dr. G is a widely sought-after thought leader who has spoken at hundreds of events and appeared on media outlets such as CNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, PBS, and Yahoo! Finance.
Dead Wrong is an indispensable guide for anyone who is committed to reliable and resilient healthcare information and messaging and wants to be a catalyst for change, whether on an individual basis or at the organization or even governmental level. This important and timely book addresses the history, causes and solutions to our misinformation crisis:
Misinformation and Disinformation in Healthcare (and What Differentiates Them)
The Path to Optimizing Virtual Healthcare Results
How to Know When You’re Choosing the Right Doctors
The Importance of Patient Advocacy
AI and its Role in the Future of Healthcare
How to Harness Digital Health Technology for Positive Change
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