Next Generation Digital Natives

I saw the tweet and picture above and couldn’t help but laugh. My children do stuff like this all the time and I love it. Of course, my children aren’t talking about being paged (they don’t work in healthcare), but they definitely know all about technology. In fact, at a recent parent teacher conference, my 7 year old’s teacher talked about how well she did on the computer and how she could navigate any of the technology with ease. Yep, I was a really proud parent at that moment.

Why share this on an EMR blog? Well, a part of me has my head in the cloud (pun intended) as I’m considering the various gifts I’m giving my children this year. My wife and I are all about the technology, but also technology that helps them use their creativity. Lest you worry, we also have incorporated plenty of balls and other things they can use outside. However, I think this shift is an important sign of what’s to come.

Think about how different the EHR world would be if all of healthcare were digital natives that just understood how technology worked. I recently was asked by an older friend (ironically he’s an ortho doc) to help him and his wife get the Apple TV working in their home. I’d never used it before, but I’d used something kind of similar. At one point I asked her if she knew how to do something with it (she didn’t know), and then I proceeded to just figure out how it worked.

The reality is that I didn’t know the Apple TV interface at all, but I did know intuitively how things like that were designed. Some of that comes from experience with so many different software packages. Some of that comes from having done some programming. The next generation healthcare IT user is going to have this literally built into who they are. Look at the hour of code initiative if you want to see why I think everyone is going to have at least some programming experience.

Every EHR trainer is reading this and imagining how different their EHR training classes would have gone if those attending were all digital natives. That’s far from the reality today and so we have to do things differently, but it will be what we find in the future.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Years ago, my wife and I were headed out the door for work, brief cases in hand. Our daughter, two, ran upstairs and grabbed her busy box – a perfect briefcase metaphor — to join us. Kids pick up on our messages whether we want them to or not.

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