• Posted by KGray on July 13, 2013, 6:16 am

    Improving doctor-patient communications is a dual responsibility. Some patients are: 1) reluctant to question their doctor(s) because they do not want to impugn the medical professional’s integrity/judgment; 2) intimidated by arrogant doctor(s); 3) afraid to appear ignorant. Some doctors: 1) are defensive due to readily-available medical information; 2) interject personal views into patient treatment; 3) are grossly distracted by personal matters and interruptions caused by electronic communications; 4) cultural gaps with non-American doctors.

    The only way to improve doctor-patient communications is if patients educate themselves on their medical needs (if time permits), ask more questions and clarify answers. If a doctor is arrogant or refuses to provide information on a comprehensive level, then the patient should find a new doctor.

    Doctors can educate patients if they express interest in a specific form of treatment (such as weight loss). A consultative approach is preferable to personal interjection — especially when the doctor is not well-versed on the form of treatment or if the personal interjection is inappropriate. Doctors should not allow personal matters to affect patient care. Also, doctors should not encourage doctor-patient electronic communications until: 1) doctors establish a secure communication method; 2) clear HIPAA-compliant guidelines are established and agreed upon (in writing) by the patient; 3) doctors receive time management and electronic communication training.

    Reply →
    • Posted by admin on July 18, 2013, 6:04 pm
      in reply to KGray

      Thanks for the great comment!

      I agree with you totally up to the end but here I beg to differ when you say that Doctors should not encourage doctor-patient electronic communications until:
      1) doctors establish a secure communication method
      ==> If doctors use email today and FB (and many do) then the question of secure communications methods is not the hinge factor for a doctor

      2) Clear HIPAA-compliant guidelines are established and agreed upon (in writing) by the patient;
      ==> Since patients do not understand what HIPAA means – there is no point in making them sign in writing

      3)doctors receive time management and electronic communication training.
      ==> Doctors don’t need training for their iPhone/iPad/Android apps – so why should they need time management and electronic communications training

      The answer to encouraging doctor-patient sharing and private messaging lies in only 1 factor – and that is ease of use. If the application is simple and intuitive – then people will use it. Otherwise – no amount of techno-babble and compliance will make people adopt the technology for sharing and private messaging

      Reply →
      • Posted by KGray on July 19, 2013, 4:04 pm
        in reply to admin

        You’re welcome.

        To clarify a few points:
        1) doctors establish a secure communication method
        ==> If doctors use email today and FB (and many do) then the question of secure communications methods is not the hinge factor for a doctor.
        ==> I understand doctors use email and FB, but it is in their best interest to a secure method is used to manage and store messages — this could be crucial if a smartphone is stolen or accessed by an unauthorized party.

        2) Clear HIPAA-compliant guidelines are established and agreed upon (in writing) by the patient;
        ==> Since patients do not understand what HIPAA means – there is no point in making them sign in writing
        ==> It helps if patients know what can and cannot be discussed in an e-mail. Written acknowledgement, once again, protects the doctor and the patient.

        3)doctors receive time management and electronic communication training.
        ==> Doctors don’t need training for their iPhone/iPad/Android apps – so why should they need time management and electronic communications training
        ==> Electronic communications training goes beyond learning how to use a smartphone. With ever-increasing patient loads and other obligations, receiving time management training can help doctors determine if electronic communications enhance the doctor-patient relationship or what level of electronic communication they want to provide.

        Electronic communications training can help doctors hone written communication skills to prevent potential miscommunications.

        We agree, that no amount of techno-babble and compliance will make people adopt the technology for sharing and private messaging. Patients can continue to use their preferred e-mail method.

        Doctors and patients should be fully aware of the impact of electronic communications on the doctor-patient relationship.

        Reply →
        • Posted by admin on July 21, 2013, 9:26 am
          in reply to KGray

          Thanks for the reply – Great stuff!

          This is a fascinating area – and I would argue just like you that Email is a bad fit for exchanging health information with physicians and patients. While many people in the IT world are enamored with security awareness training – there is no way that you can train 300 million healthcare consumers to understand what they can send and what they cannot send in an email to their physician. The best solution is to provide a competitive product – an app that is simpler, faster and more effective than email and also private by design. This is (full disclosure our project) – Pathcare – private sharing and messaging with physicians and patients.

          As a tangential topic – it is often assumed by IT managers that self-service patient-doctor portals will reduce the load of office visits. IT people not being aware of evidence based research naturally assumed that it would be similar to customer service with your mobile provider.

          A recent study shows that actually the number of office visits goes up when a healthcare provider uses a self-service patient-doctor portal.

          This is not necessarily a bad thing – if the objective is to provide better care as opposed to providing less care at lower costs.

          See http://pathcare.co/patient-physician-messaging-good-for-business-and-bad-for-healthcare/
          Danny

          Reply →
          • Posted by Kara on July 25, 2013, 6:33 am
            in reply to admin

            This is a great discussion!

            I will read about Pathcare. I shudder when I hear of doctors using personal e-mail for doctor-patient communications. Currently, the liability outweighs the convenience.

            The development of self-service patient-doctor portals will prove interesting. There are countless factors to consider. Personally, I think portals will depersonalize the doctor-patient relationship and cause unnecessary confusion. While I embrace technology it is often not strategically implemented or efficient.

            Reply →
  • Posted by Improving physician performance for 1 dollar | Pathcare on July 28, 2013, 6:59 am

    […] The old expression – You have a dollar to spend, how do you spend it – is especially true for busy private physicians. […]

    Reply →
  • […] answer to that question is a bit complex. It relates to privacy concerns, ease of use and return on investment (ROI) when a doctor invests precious time and money in a private messaging […]

    Reply →

Leave a reply

Cancel reply
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather