If I don’t scribble down the time for my next medical appointment, or carefully stow the card a receptionist gives me, I might miss it. But my doctor could help me show up. Shouldn’t doctors be digitally relational – in terms of providing access to the information they maintain on their patients and share digitally with other doctors? “Many Americans lack access to and knowledge of digital tools such as text and email reminders that can boost communication efforts with their healthcare providers,” says a post by FierceHealthIT.
Nielsen Strategic Health Perspectives just released the results of a poll taken last summer that showed relatively few patients receive any digital reminders of appointments or other information on their health from their doctors – at a time when digital communication is booming elsewhere.
Permanente Medical Group Executive Director and CEO Robert Pearl, who chairs the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), which sponsored the survey, cites four reasons doctors typically aren’t communicating digitally with their patients:
1. A lack of integration of such tools in the care structure.
2. The current fee-for-service system.
3. The need for better physician leadership.
4. Legislation that’s not up to date with the current state of technology.
In short, doctors aren’t attuned to communicating digitally with their patients, in an age when they should be.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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