Doctors embrace the Digital Age
transforming Health | 11.09.12
The healthcare industry is just starting to incorporate electronic medical records, patient portals, and apps into their practices. And, although it is just the beginning, Dr. Karen Jones, an Internist & Medical Director for Quality and Innovation at WellSpan Health, says that the future is not too far out in changing how care is delivered and received.
“For me, the most exciting part of the Digital Age in health care is the potential we have to help people understand and have more control of their health care,” says Dr. Jones.
“You have to have the right tool for the right situation. I would never tell someone that they have cancer over the phone or in an email. That needs to be face to face,” Dr. Jones says. She explains that although some situations call for a face-to-face conversation, helping a patient to understand the process and what to expect can be done with a tool that they can get on a smartphone or computer. She says, “This helps set them up for a more meaningful conversation when they do talk to a provider.”
“Health care today is complicated. It is not like the olden days when there was one doctor for the whole town. Now, we have a lot of specialization and places to keep track of,” she says.
She explains that electronic medical records are doing a great job in keeping physicians in the loop about patients’ care. Connected physicians use smartphones and tablets along with apps, online tools and online medical records to deliver more efficient care.
Some things that we may see in the future might be virtual e-visits in which a patient can video chat with their physician instead of taking the time to drive to the doctor’s office and meet there in person. Dr. Jones says, “I think its very exciting and the opportunity is huge. I think we need to figure it out.”
Do you go online to access your medical information? Does your doctor use digital tools in their practice? What's exciting to you about healthcare entering the "Digital Age?" Please let us know your thoughts in a comment below.
Doctors using apps to streamline care