About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

11 comments on “How Will the Texting Generation Change the Physician-Patient Relationship?

  • Thank you for sharing Dr. Luks. I hear every day from medical practices that say, “I can’t afford (time/money/staff) to take text messages from patients.” Then when they start using a web-based patient texting platform say, “Ah! Right! My staff gets texts and not phone calls. Yeah, that’s good.”

    Slowly but surely, doctors are getting it. THX for being an early adopter in the Moore Curve :)

    • Thanks John… You are correct. More and more docs are realizing the office efficiencies and economic benefits that accompany a digital presence with the “proper” balance of tech layered onto their platform.
      Appreciate your visit and input!

  • As a patient with Stage IV RCC, diagnosed in 2006, the simple fact of being able to text my oncologist has proven a tremendous help on numerous occasion. I recall one specific time where I texted him about a stomach problem which I felt was a side-effect of the medication I was on at the time. What I did not know was that he was at a medical conference in Germany. I found out when he texted back, but regardless of the distance, he contacted a colleague, a stomach specialist, and arranged for me to meet him at the ER the next day at 7AM, which I did. There was indeed an issue, and my meds were adjusted accordingly. Without having that line of communication, there is no way I could have received such a prompt follow up. The ‘traditional’ channels of communication would have meant either waiting days for a return call or waiting hours and hours at the ER.

      • Thank you for investigating the pros and cons of this new fast paced age of emerging technology and patient care. I appreciate the progressive platform for the patient’s voice, living myself with debilitating illness for many years, as long as we don’t lose sight of the need for treating the whole person. Fast answers through technology are a great advancement for all concerned but my concern would be for those living with a complicated medical history. Until data based medical information for the patient is established will this allow for unnecessary mistakes?

  • Like it, Use it or Not – texting and I’d include “micro-blogging” – are the dominant means of communication among most people – especially those who will drive adoption: send it on your terms, receive it when you can, archive it easily, process it with NLP, tag it easier than other medium, yada, yada, etc. (so many more options than voice and images).

    So who will the medical community, not just physicians but all constituents get on board?

    Isn’t one of the core “goals of communication” to initiate, send, receive, process, act on and archive information in the most efficient means possible? This old-fashioned “Input-Process-Output” paradigm is being changed.

    I don’t think anyone needs any stats to prove how simple it is to text and SMS and micro-blog important info. Let’s face it: e-mail sucks, waiting to get into voicemail sucks, culling voicemails and recording key info from these old-fashioned media sucks.

    How do we intergrate these discrete, sometimes well-defined – sometimes not, interactions into our lifestream?

    • Thanks Steve…
      Have to agree with you on many points. If more physicians understood the operational efficiencies gained by enabling patients to communicate through digital media I think they would be far more wiling to adopt their use.


  • Hi Howard: texting is the way. I’ve created a Man Plan Diet, the online version of which uses only texting for gender-specific, action-oriented messages to help men lose the gut: in our beta test, we asked men if they wanted to receive texts daily, or twice weekly, or not at all. Answer: daily. As usual, patients are ahead. Thanks for helping them lead the way.

  • First, this is an excellent piece. Thank you for writing it Howard.

    Second – to your specific question “Would patients find value in text reminders based on these to-do lists after appointments?” Yes indeed. This could be invaluable in so many different situations — someone checking up to make sure what I am supposed to be doing is actually being done. I say bring it on! It won’t be for everyone….but those inclined to appreciate the full circle care aspect of this kind of service would be thrilled. And I think there is quite a growing community of patients like this.

    What I like about this piece and your writing is that you are marrying low-tech and high-tech skills, thinking and procedures to achieve the best outcome for both patient and doctor. Most admirable. Look forward to continuing to follow your work.

    Best of luck in all endeavors!


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