CHEST President reminds attendees to consider ‘all perspectives,’ addresses health-care trends

CHEST President Clayton Cowl, MD, MS, FCCP, began his presidential address Sunday morning during the Opening Session by advising attendees to take care when taking photos. Why? According to a recent journal article, 150 people worldwide have died while taking selfies in the past 6 years, he said.

Dr. Cowl used this data to illustrate the importance of changing and considering all perspectives. He showed the audience pictures of a popular photo spot in Brazil called Telegraph Rock—a spot where one perspective results in images of people seemingly dangling from a high cliff. But vary the perspective, and you realize the “cliff” is a rock only a few feet off the ground.

“Everything is changing, and doing so at a pace never seen before,” Dr. Cowl said. “In light of the tremendous change affecting our daily lives—whether it’s how we shop or interact with patients or keep current in our specialties—taking in all perspectives and anticipating changing trends in medicine and educational delivery is something that will continue to challenge the medical profession and CHEST as an organization. Smack in the center of what is driving this new perspective and change is technology.”

Dr. Cowl discussed the role of technology in the decline of many long-time brick-and-mortar retailers, including iconic brand Toys R Us, and how that’s led to different industries tapping into health care as a source for future growth.

“Within 5 years, Best Buy plans to provide 5 million seniors with health monitoring services,” he said. “And the concept of ‘the patient will now see you’ is mainstream. Clinics are setting up in retail venues. Doctors are now available online anytime at the beck and call of the patient. These are new perspectives.”

Dr. Cowl continued:

“It’s estimated that 30% or more of patient interactions may be in a virtual environment within the next 10 years. Believe it or not, more than 5,000 hospital beds right now, in the US, are being monitored every night by our colleagues in India, Italy, the Philippines, and other areas around the globe.”

Dr. Cowl said the rise of technology—including AI, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, wearables, and telemedicine—is changing the roles of doctors and patients, and it’s imperative that clinicians remember to consider all perspectives to keep up in the changing environment.