“It is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease, than what sort of disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler
Proper communication and proper contextually based eduction forms the basis of a meaningful patient-physician relationship. The complexities of the healthcare system and the ever-increasing administrative tasks physicians must tend to are eating into the time we have available to interact with our patients in a manner which broadens their understanding of their disease process.
The complexities and sheer volume of information available in medicine and healthcare have surpassed the cognitive capacity of the individual stakeholder. Doctors and patients need help!
The Pew Internet reasearch group has shown that nearly 80% of people are searching online for issues that relate to their disease process, physicians, institutions and procedures. We can do almost anything online today. I scan a CPC code on my iPhone and the next day that article is delivered to my house. Why can’t we do that in the healthcare space?
Forward thinking mobile application developers in the healthcare space such as Orca Health are doing just that. Helping physicians educate and guide their patients in an efficient, reproducible and accurate manner – and helping patients, while in the comfort of their home, further review the same information they received from their physician.
Information is both power … and empowering. Limited access to accurate information leads to false assumptions, false goal setting, and may lead to a dissatisfied patient. A recent article demonstrated that if patients who are contemplating orthopedic surgery went through an independent decision-making process, at least 30% of them would choose not to proceed with the planned surgery.
Many possibilities exist as to why this is the case, but I’m convinced that the number one reason was somehow based in a lack of communication, alignment of goals, or an unrealistic understanding of the risk and time commitment involved. Technology is not to be feared. It is to be embraced. If technology is utilized properly it can assist both parties involved – and enhance the quality of the physician-patient relationship.
When we think of technology, we think of gadgets, of steel and cold hard objects. Few think of internet platforms and applications. Many believe that healthcare technology drives a wedge between the patient-physician relationship. Healthcare technology can, and will, not only vastly improve a physicians office worlkflow efficiency, patient education, and better alignement of goals and objectives – but can also go a long way to improve the the patient-physician relationship, which has suffered due to the constraints and limitations our horribly complex healthcare behemoth has laid upon us.
In the end, utilizing applications like ShoulderDecide and other Orca Health applications will result in a better educated and well-informed patient – who is a happier (and perhaps healthier) patient, who will be satisfied knowing that their values, issues and story were incorporated into the decision-making process, and that the decision they arrived at was most likely the right one for them. Simultaneously, the physician will recognize an improvement in their office-based content sharing quality and efficiency – and both parties will be left with a better sense of accomplishment.