Patient Communication in this Age of Technology: Practice management
“It is strange to think that a system of information and data exchange, which allows you to communicate with anyone around the entire world, interferes with connecting to the person right in front of you. We see it constantly as cell phones, I-pads, computers and even that “old” obstructer the television, get between us. At the time we need to communicate most desperately, electronics can block that most human connection of all, the physician – patient relationship.”
This quote is from a blog about a guy who was mad at doctor cause all he seemingly did was gape at the computer instead of listening to him.
I often see this same phenomenon when encountering a customer service person or scheduler or patient accounts person in the CBO when dealing with a patient.
And while of course, computers and other devices can actually help us aid that patient, perception is everything. Nothing can replace direct eye contact with a patient or a patient’s family when interacting.
Our knowledge and access to knowledge has never been greater, and we applaud the technology that enables us to know so much so quickly. We embrace this age of quickly changing technology as it provides us with tools to answer questions, find answers, compare data and store history. But we fall short of the real goal if we fail to keep a balance between what technology can do for us and our relationship with the patient sitting in front of us.
It’s all about balance. We can diagnose potential problems through new screenings test, we can treat with the latest and greatest drugs available, we can quickly answer patients questions about their balances and bills, we can offer alternative solutions to their issue of no insurance; but we have to see them, we have to hear them and we have to let them know we do.
I see all kinds of marketing ideas for hospitals and providers using the social media and technology, I hear discussions about the latest data gathering and analysis, but here’s a thought, listen to the patient. Make eye contact and simply stop what you are doing and listen.
I wonder how much trouble we would have with patient retention if we paid more attention to them and less attention to our electronic devices.