Be The Tipping Point

April 10, 2013 by InTouch Health

Malcolm Gladwell, author of bestsellers like The Tipping Point and Outliers,  has brilliantly documented how hard-working early adopters (the outliers) help bring about pivotal social change (the tipping points). Telemedicine advocates can take heart from one of Gladwell’s most famous examples: The Beatles.

Similiar to musical revolution ushered in by the Beatles in the 1960s, telehealth has reached a tipping point.

In 1962, the music world was dominated by folk musicians and balladeers like Dean Martin. But in a tiny nightclub, four lads from Liverpool laid the groundwork for what would become the juggernaut of progressive rock. They didn’t fret about “tipping points” in musical tastes. They were the tipping point.

In a recent Hands On Telehealth newsletter, Nirav Desai (who’s fond of quoting Malcolm Gladwell) puts it beautifully: “You are part of the paradigm shift, not just through your awareness of telehealth but also your ability to bring about awareness, adoption and usage. As Mahatma Gandhi said: Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Nirav adds that telemedicine actually has three tipping points that are occurring simultaneously: awareness, adoption and usage. And there are geographic pockets where these things are bubbling faster than in other regions. The parallel once again is to 1962 England, where The Beatles were part of a coalescing scene that included The Who and many others.

Just as Beatlemania was fueled by a music-hungry Baby Boom generation, telemedicine is being spurred by the aging of that same group (along with a shortage of physicians to care for them).

All the factors at the center of the see-saw – telemedicine reimbursement, cross-state licensing, and interoperability – are shifting steadily toward that proverbial tipping point. What Nirav urges us to do is add our individual bounce to help make it happen.

That’s the kind of energy that turns emerging trends into world-changing breakthroughs.

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