There’s plenty of talk these days about the demise of the doctor/patient relationship with blame being placed on patients’ lack of patience; doctors rushing to satisfy health plan guidelines; the increased use of electronic health records, and the Silver Tsunami of older patients needing extra care. But before we consign traditional medical delivery to the trash bin, let’s see if the premise is really true. In my work with medical practices in Oregon and around the country, I see thriving relationships everywhere; they are simply evolving to meet today’s health care needs.
When physicians first retired their horses and buggies in favor of office-based practices, the “experts” probably said that medicine would never survive. But it did, and it flourished as physicians became more effective in their offices surrounded by diagnostic equipment and patient records at their fingertips. Now, it’s time for this paradigm to evolve again.
Electronic health records, laptops in exam rooms, and patient portals need not be barriers to skilled, compassionate care. X-rays, EKGs, and MRIs are now routinely read remotely by specialists without impacting the bond between physician and patient. Clinical decision support systems can take the place of textbooks and reference guides, giving physicians more time with their patients. Smart phones are routinely being used for diagnostic and monitoring of chronic conditions, allowing physicians to have actionable answers even before the patient enters the office.
Savvy physicians know what they have always known: tools may change, but the healing relationship endures. IHI is in the business of helping practices meet the future. How can we help your practice thrive? Call: 503-341-0593.