Technology Is Great, but Experts Still Matter
In this guest post, Maxwell Ivey looks at the relationship between technology and expert professionals in healthcare — and what that can teach us about technology at large.
When you go to the doctor’s office, or when they come to your house, a lot of things are automated. There are devices to measure your blood pressure, take your temperature, and check your oxygen levels.
All of these things can be done at home using devices that are available in stores or through home health suppliers. But how do you know if you are using the device properly? And even if you are, would you then try to diagnose yourself?
I am a large man. I am 6’4 and weigh about 290 pounds. Recently, I discovered that the location of the blood pressure cuff determines the numbers I receive. My blood pressure is higher when the cuff is close to my elbow, and drops as the cuff moves toward my shoulder. Which numbers should I believe? Do I have abnormally low blood pressure for a large man of my age, or should I be rushing to an emergency room out of fear of a stroke?
I’m not saying those little wrist cuff blood pressure monitors are worthless; I’m just saying we shouldn’t make medical decisions without letting a certified professional run the tests — or without speaking to someone trained to diagnose the results.
Lately, a lot of people are using wearable devices to track their workouts or vital signs. One of the more common features in these devices is ECG technology that can detect blood flow and measure your heart rate.
My brother is an arrhythmia survivor, and he uses that feature on his watch — but he still sees his cardiologist on a regular basis to get more strenuous tests done. And he listens to his doctor when he is told about future procedures, medications, or tests.
The Benefits of Expert-Guided Technology
When I think about the balance between technology and expert professionals in healthcare, it feels like a good roadmap for other applications of technology.
We get a lot of benefit from the speed, accuracy, and convenience of technology in medical settings. After all, who wants to go back to having nurses weigh us with a manual scale? And we certainly wouldn’t want hospitals to abandon digital systems in favor of pen and paper.
There’s little doubt that technology makes things easier. But we only truly benefit because it’s highly trained doctors, nurses, and technicians who are operating the equipment and evaluating the data.
The same can be said for creating a more accessible internet. One of the biggest challenges in digital accessibility is the speed and scale of the internet. Websites change too often — and there are too many of them — for people alone to make them accessible. We need technology to keep up — but we also know that technology works best when it’s backed by people.
AudioEye offers a great marriage of automation and human experience. And their commitment to involving people like me in website testing is one of the reasons I’m so excited to work with them.
AudioEye’s solution can detect up to 70% of the most common accessibility issues — and automatically fix about two-thirds of them. But there are always going to be situations where the technology can’t recognize the problem or isn’t able to fix it without human intervention. And that’s when certified experts need to step in.
What’s Next In My Accessibility Journey?
In the coming months, I will be installing AudioEye on my own website and documenting the entire journey. Because of everything I mentioned, I’m excited to see how this turns out.
I’m looking forward to learning about how the software does the work of making my site more accessible — and keeping it that way.
I also hope to learn better practices for how I create content for my site. I know it has a lot of shortcomings in the area of accessibility today. But like most of you, I’ve been doing my best.
And I look forward to being able to share the process with all of you. My hope is that I will discover just how easy AudioEye’s solution makes it for me to make my website more inclusive.
To me, that is yet another part of the human aspect to the partnership between technology and people that is at the heart of AudioEye’s approach.
Stay tuned to hear all about my experience with AudioEye.
Ready to test your website for accessibility?