I find that discussions of placing technology in classrooms and technology in doctors’ exam rooms have some similarities. A teacher can hand the kids laptops for one research project a semester or create fancy PowerPoint presentations to accompany lectures just to be able to say that these innovations are being used, or she can integrate the use of internet and graphic design and white boards and social media in a way that is fluid and a seamless part of learning everyday. In the same way, a doctor can enter answers on a computer screen while he questions a patient or maybe test results available online, or he can develop a practice that facilitates ease of communication and information in multiple ways.
There is understandable concern that too much technology can form a barrier in the doctor-patient relationship. If your cardiologist is being typing in data as you share your heart concerns or refers you to a website for information on your diagnosis, there is not a chance for those important conversations to happen.
So, that brings me to my question — how do you envision a doctor’s office that uses technology to improve the lives of patients but still emphasizes the need for human connection? Maybe an email ahead of each visit with information to review in order to ask the best possible questions? Access to iPads that will allow you to look at your own handheld image of your x-ray while talking to the doctor? How about an app for your smart phone that offers alerts and advice based on your medical profile? Video chats that make travel to an office unnecessary altogether?
If you are creative and can get a grand vision of how the modern, 21st century medical practice should look, then health IT could use your talents! Over the next decade, the way that doctors set up their offices, communicate with patients, and treat the sick will change dramatically. Do you want to be a part of this exciting shift?
What is one way that you think medical professionals should use technology that you don’t see being practiced today?