There are more ways than ever to communicate with people. In NPR.org’s “What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate”, Kate Kamber, a student at the University of Virginia, says that in contemporary American culture, “the problem is not how to best contact someone for the sake of contact, but rather the problem is how to contact someone in a medium where the intended message can most accurately be conveyed.”
New communication and social channels present new challenges and questions for physicians and other medical professionals. Patients and physicians are also increasingly “super mobile” using mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, more than PCs.
How will digital natives change the landscape for patients?
A recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals that texting is the favorite form of communication among young people ages 12 to 17.
Sixty-three percent of young people use texting to chat with others every day. About 39 percent call and receive calls on their cellphones; 29 percent swap messages on social network sites — such as Facebook and Twitter — and 22 percent send instant messages. Very few report using email–only 6%.
What do mobile social platforms mean for the physician-patient relationship? Dr. Luks weighs in.
“My patients vary in age from young athletes to baby boomers and beyond. I see a fair amount of young people in my practice for sports-related injuries as well as baby boomers for orthopedic conditions like osteoarthritis. I also have social media presences on all the most popular platforms.”
“The best communication between a patient and doctor is always face-to-face. My social media presences are for informational purposes only, not treatment, diagnosis or ongoing patient communication. New patients looking for information may initiate a lot of conversations as a result of the valuable information they find on my website or social media platforms, but their next step is an email or phone call and an appointment.
“To get the most out of a face-to-face interaction, I encourage patients to come to their appointments prepared with a good list of questions. I find many physicians’ biggest challenge is for patients to leave the office taking note of advice for next steps and committing to the actions prescribed by the doctor. That is why, even with all the high-tech tools, I still use my low-tech notepads to help me achieve my communication goals.
Would patients find value in text reminders based on these to-do lists after appointments? Tell me what you think.
Please tell Dr. Luks your thoughts on text-messaging and your doctor in the comments below!
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