Much is expected of leaders in the day-to-day operations of their companies. From motivating team members to overseeing major strategies, being a leader means that people depend on you for decisions—big and small.
Crucial as this is to the role, many managers should be on the lookout for the onset of decision fatigue. Given that willpower has been shown to be a depletable resource, the quality of one’s decisions may gradually deteriorate throughout the day if not managed carefully.
Practitioners in a few industries may pay a higher price than others if they don’t watch out. As the day progresses, judges have been shown to be more likely to deny parole, whereas doctors have been shown to have a higher chance of prescribing unnecessary antibiotics. Given the life-changing impact of such decisions, it becomes crucial then that stakeholders address the problem.
As an individual decision-maker, it’s wise to outsource insignificant decisions (such as where to book meetings) to a trusted assistant. However, when you’re protecting a team of decision-makers—such as your pool of judges or doctors—bigger measures must be taken.
This is where systemic approaches come in. To combat decision fatigue on an organizational level, one must use smart systems that are more efficient and easily scalable. For today’s purposes, we’ll be turning to the field of medicine to learn the best ways these systems have been utilized in action.
Patience with Patients
As of 2015, the Department of Health has stated that the Philippines has an average shortage of 15,000 doctors a year. With a ratio of one doctor for every 33,000 patients, hospital administrators should caution against the high odds of decision fatigue within their roster of doctors.
One effective way to combat this fatigue systemically is by having data storage in the cloud. The core concept: it allows users to store and access data over the internet instead of a single hard drive. In the medical field, this simple yet powerful idea has yielded several benefits.
First on the list is faster response time: since cloud-based data enables doctors and staff to pull patient information on the go, this helps them make better, data-driven decisions in record time—a crucial consideration in medical emergencies, where every minute counts.
Another benefit is making complexity more manageable: aside from spurring cohesion by easily pulling data from multiple sources, cloud computing has also enabled the massive processing of complex data that individual doctors could never handle alone.
Take, for example, the case at the Seattle Children’s Hospital for Dr. Michael Cunningham. As the medical director of their Craniofacial Center, he was in charge of finding a solution for young patients with craniosynostosis—and he had to find it fast.
“The biggest obvious consequence of having craniosynostosis is that your head shape gets very abnormal and it increases the pressure inside the skull, with potential to damage the brain,” Cunningham said.
With the aid of cloud computing, his partner researchers were able to analyze and sequence a vast amount of information from the cloud about possible causes for the disease. As they traced the abnormality down to the way bone cells communicated, they were able to identify patients whose cells looked similar—giving the center a solid lead to follow.
As a start, Dr. Cunningham revealed that this was a breakthrough in itself: "It's the first thing that's ever been found that really gives us a clue as to where to look in terms of underlying cause," he said.
Cloud-based data not only saved them a considerable amount of money and time, but it had effectively shortened the decision-making process for the doctor—letting him focus on finding an effective cure that is actually based on solid evidence.
There are many more benefits to cloud computing technology: easier patient monitoring, efficient tracking of patient history, and seamless transitioning between doctors. Another benefit worth highlighting is the preservation of data integrity.
With cloud computing, the centralized nature of data distribution increases the chances of two things: heightened data security and reduced human error.
Given the security of data in the cloud, sensitive patient information can remain private—utilized specifically only when needed.
Moreover, centralizing this private data in the cloud enables stakeholders to hold each other accountable. With clear records of both good and bad decisions (along with the people who executed them), doctors and staff alike are ultimately trained to make better decisions, work better as a team, and strive to improve the overall quality of their data—paving the way for higher quality treatments in the future for all.
With this in mind, one concrete strategy to follow when executing cloud computing is by choosing systems that any stakeholder can operate. After all, in order to make widespread systemic change likely, the technology behind it should be secure, easily scalable, and simple enough to learn for all users.
With GoCanvas, stakeholders need no programming experience: anybody can customize their own forms, store their own data, and share only the private information necessary—all in the security of their own cloud.
The Medical Movement
So much can still be done for Philippine hospitals and the country's medical field in general. Amidst challenges, solutions providers strive to make fast and efficient healthcare a reality available to the general population.
With the future of technology and healthcare going hand in hand, we have no doubt that this can help pave the way for a better country: one doctor, one patient, and one decision at a time.