firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Technology, technology, technology…
It is all we hear.
Let’s change the focus from “technology” … to the useful and meaningful processes that technology enables:
Too many echo chambers pushing the same message day in and day out.
Technology is only an enabler, much like the social graph. They are tools… they are platforms… and if properly utilized, they may enable “disruption” or transformation. It is the few individuals, and I do mean a few, who know how to utilize these tools and platforms. They are pushing the envelope, producing meaningful, robust change – and gaining the trust of their “followers” along the way.
If patients don’t remember 75% of what a doctor tells them, is a pair of glasses going to change that?
If you are not engaged in shared decision-making, a process which has been proven to lead to “better” choices to suit needs, desires, and lifestyle – is an app going to change that?
The persistent, pervasive sad realities of our healthcare system
- Patients are rarely placed in the center of the care episode.
- Communication amongst most providers and patients is poor, at best.
- Comprehension, and retention of information is poor, at best.
- Healthcare literacy is rarely taken into account when an important discussion takes place.
- Physicians are now an employed commodity, and may not be in the same practice when you return.
BUT… what it means to be human and innately social has not changed.
Becoming a Trusted Provider
At its heart, digital media is about people, it is about relationships, and it is about communication –– and trust!
We now live in a collaborative economy enabled by the democratization of information, a social graph that enables sharing, and we have witnessed how “disruptive” the power of pull can be.
When patients search for and find information they deem useful, the author of that information becomes a trusted resource.
When patients can reach out to a provider in a time of need… via a platform or technology they are comfortable with … a trusting relationship emerges.
When patients know their values, desires, goals, and lifestyle have been considered in the decision-making process, they trust the provider who has assisted them throughout the process.
The healthcare system we have lived with for decades was founded on the principle of authority. The doctor spoke… the patient listened.
This doesn’t work very well.
The democratization of information, and the platforms that enable knowledge sharing have all started to level the playing field. The patient is becoming part of the team — their care team. They are being armed with knowledge (content), data (access to their EMR) and an empowered voice. Are you listening?
Meaningful engagement means to inform, engage, empower, partner with, and support – the patient.
According to the National eCollaborative, 96% of stakeholders say they strongly agree that engaging consumers in their care is critical to transformation. The transformation needs trusted providers.
Lead the Change
Are you a trusted provider? Is that at risk as our healthcare landscape evolves? I propose that it is… I for one do not plan on being a commodity. I am a physician, a brand, and an educator… and my “global” practice is mobile and serving the needs of all in search of information.
This is beautifully done, Dr. Luks. I was able to be at the Friedrich’s Ataxia Symposium at CHoP yesterday, and it was great to see the engaged patients and their engaged providers in action to help share research, collaborate, and work for a cure. The patient IS a very important part of the team.
Thanks for getting these thoughts out.
Howard J. Luks, MD says
Very kind Courtney! Thanks for stopping by :-) !
Will Schupp, MD says
I am a long time RSS follower. This is a brilliant summary of the problem and what we should do from a conceptual standpoint. The problem is, our systems aren’t designed to do anything like this. And, if they did, the culture hasn’t changed yet.
I run a direct primary care practice, where I’ve eliminated incentives outside of the doctor-patient relationship. The first Direct Primary Care Summit was last weekend, and it is an incredible “movement” towards restoring that relationship and engaging patients. My patients have unlimited access and clinic time. But, I can tell you that it’s still a major challenge to do what you are describing here. Having a trusting relationship is a great first step, and it should be a relatively easy one compared to the rest of the process.
There are promising studies on this. For example, Kaiser found an 88% reduction in mortality after a heart attack if you enroll patients in a patient engagement program. Logically, we should all want to do this, and Direct Primary Care practices tout this as a benefit. But, if you actually read what they do in these studies, you’ll see that we don’t use integrated systems that come close to a true patient engagement program. This has to change.
I just went on a long-winded rant about this on my blog.
Will Schupp, MD
Howard J. Luks, MD says
Thanks Sr Schupp !
I appreciate your words of wisdom. I applaud you and your efforts and appreciate your thoughts on this hugely important topic.
Ortopedia Sao Paulo says
Dear Dr. Luks,
First off, congratulations on the fantastic blog! It’s a real resource for any sports medicine doctor. This article in particular is very useful, specially for a surgeon from Brazil, where technology is still more limited than in the USA.
All the best!
Howard J. Luks, MD says
Thank you Paulo !