Digital connectivity is a human connection

human connection

I walked the exhibit halls of HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition and I marvelled at the technology.

I was looking for surprises, bold innovations, and the magic that could change the world.

HIMSS asked us to “reimagine” heath, but for me, it was more than imagination.

I’ve been down the imagination road for many years and I’m now looking for a bit more of the “practical magic” that brings a smile to the faces of clinicians and patients. We need to take a ride in “the Tesla of healthcare” and experience the future firsthand.

As I continued my walk across the expansive convention hall, I saw many monitors, devices, and technologies.

Some of these buckets of bolts were blinking and blurting sounds and images, yet others were rather lifeless and waiting for a human touch to press the on button.

At first, I thought the common denominator was the electron — the energy that brings our technology to life.

But that wasn’t it.

You can turn on your device, but in many instances, it’s still rather lifeless.

Then, out of the blue, I came across a colleague I haven’t seen for years.

Our very first interaction was a robust handshake.

And that’s when it hit me.

The linchpin of much of the technology at the HIMSS conference is lifeless without connectivity.

Connectivity is essential.

And it may even exist as part of a human and technological hierarchy.

In 1943, long before the microprocessor and cloud computing, Abraham Maslow published a now-famous paper of human motivation and the hierarchy of human needs.

Maslow presented how specific needs — physiologic, safety, love, self-esteem, and fulfilment — are fundamental to humanity.

In today’s world, some of these constructs have been prioritized to the level of “fundamental for civilization” and codified into law.

The civil discourse around fundamental “rights” of concerns like education and healthcare are examples of how Maslow’s hierarchy has become inculcated into a culture. And in medicine, the role of connectivity is becoming so essential that it might share an emotional and intellectual border with this hierarchy.

So, I gathered my thoughts and continued my walk down the cavernous convention path and I check my phone.

Like that handshake a few moments ago, I realized the connection — like those two hands connection — my phone was another vital connection that defined my day and my life. Continue reading

  • John Nosta is a technology theorist driving innovation at humanity’s tipping point.
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