Technology and the Doc-Patient Relationship

The American Hospital Association hosted their Leadership Summit this past weekend in San Francisco. Focus was placed on the transition from "volume to value," aligning with emerging pay-for-performance models.

The AHA also recently released a whitepaper that examines the core competencies physicians need to deliver coordinated, team-based, value-driven care. AHA groups ranked communication skills as necessary for the future of healthcare, but noted it was one of the biggest gaps in physician competencies.

Some doctors complain that technology can make their patient communication worse, by spending too much time staring at the computer screen documenting patient answers rather than making eye contact. In an essay titled "How an EMR gets in the way of doctor-patient relationships" Dr. Michael West writes: "The more an EMR can do for me, the more time I can spend in humanistic and meaningful contact with patients."

Meanwhile, plastic surgeons are complaining that technology could be making the doctor-patient relationship worse because their patients are asking their post-surgery questions online to unknown doctors rather than calling the surgeon’s office. Patients are attracted to the convenience of asking a question over the internet rather than trying to get ahold of a busy doctor who may not have seemed to be open to questions during their visits.

The Patient Guidance System can help both situations here. Patients can submit confidential questions online to their doctor post-surgery and care coordinators can follow up when time permits. As well, patients can fill out as many forms and personal documentation online ahead of appointments, saving typing time during the doctor-patient interaction. This is satisfying for both sides of the relationship. Request a demo here.

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