Finally! Tech Lets Us Do It


Hello Mudduh!  Hello Fadduh!

Here I am at Camp Granada


This song by comedian Allan Sherman about the liabilities of a mythical summer camp rose to the top of the pop charts in the early 1960s.  For a couple of years, Sherman was riding high, churning out several well-received albums and popping up on numerous TV shows.


In fact, he was so popular that his handlers, seeking to broaden his national exposure, produced a promotional pseudo-interview album called Allan Sherman and You . . . designed to allow local radio personalities to “interview” him.  The album consisted of scripted questions the radio host was supposed to ask “virtual Allan” and his pre-recorded answers, accessed by the DJ placing the record needle over the precise groove in the recording with Sherman’s response and dropping it down at the right time in the exact right spot.  The goal was to make it sound as if Allan Sherman were actually in the studio, chatting with the host.  Instructions on the album cover urged the DJ to practice this interview technique before going live.  Ya think?

I never heard this attempted on the radio, so I’m not sure how this campaign worked out.  I’m guessing this falls into the category of “Don’t try this at home.”


Two issues I suspect came up were:

·         The presence of scratches and pops on the DJ’s copy of the album.  (Live interviews seldom have background record scratch noises.)

·         The obvious problem of the DJ missing the exact groove on the album and having the answer start mid-sentence.


That was 1963.  This is now.  With modern digital technologies, a radio host could flawlessly pull this off and convince his or her audience that Mr. Sherman was, indeed, providing spontaneous responses to spontaneous questions. In other words, today’s tech can fulfill what was only a well-intentioned concept from the past that was almost certainly doomed by Neanderthal technology.


This dynamic of technology enabling goals from the past is also true in healthcare.  Physicians, hospitals and other providers have long wanted to coordinate care, communicate effectively with patients, minimize the likelihood of adverse drug reactions, and deliver only the highest lev el of care.  The old school ways of doing these involved compiling pages and pages of medical records, discharging patients with a ¼ inch stack of discharge instructions and hoping they would follow them, repeatedly recording patient medication lists on the proverbial clipboard, and making care decisions with no access to patient-specific genetic information.


All this is changing, though, as a new world of medical devices, diagnostic tools, genomic information, big data capabilities, communications-oriented apps, and mobile devices disrupt the old approaches in exciting ways.  We’re still in the early stages of seeing this technology populate the care delivery ecosystem, and we can only speculate about how technology will transform the face of medical care over the next two decades.  But without a doubt, this is a great time to be in healthcare technology.