In the past, patients relied solely on the knowledge and discretion of their health care provider and did not question advice or prognosis. Although the need and value of physician support has not changed, technology and access to data impacts the evolving physician/patient relationship.
Powerful, portable, and fast-moving technologies have made health and clinical data available to everyone, anywhere, anytime. Importantly, the information is delivered in digestible and understandable formats. The rise of wellness, with emphasis on personalized care, is driving patient empowerment. Patients are becoming increasingly responsible for their own health; absent the wisdom that comes from physicians’ deep knowledge and long experience.
With patients taking advantage of the information made easily accessible to them, how can physicians maintain relationships and form partnerships? According to Dr. Eric Silfen physicians can:
- Remain the medical practitioners who provide the safest, highest quality care. Promote evidence-based medicine that provides analyses and guidance to support patient decision-making.
- Convey information and provide interpretation to patients and families in ways that are understandable and empowering.
- Be coaches, not dictators.
- Change medical records into personal e-healthbooks patients can relate to (and use beyond the appointment).
- Develop innovative ways to help the ultimate consumers of their products, services and solutions manage multiple sources of complex medical information.
- Focus on creating the conditions for patients to participate fully in achieving their own health and well-being.
Looking at what the future already has in store for us [electronic health records, telehealth, and many other technological advancements] physicians can leverage the new doctor/patient paradigm.