“How technology has changed healthcare for worst”
Technology can help in managing data related to health, which is growing at an exponential rate. By 2020, medical data is expected to double every 73 days. Over a lifetime, people can generate more than a million gigabytes of information related to their health. However, the time required to analyze and process it is more limited than ever.
Digital transformation could ease the constraints on time use so that medical staff can focus more on the patient themselves than on computerizing or recording all their information. New technologies allow the collection of personalized information that, used appropriately, has the potential to improve quality management, efficiency, and safety of medical care.
The electronic medical record, for example, is based on a broader vision of patient care. It contains detailed information about all the doctors and processes that the patient has gone through, including.
- medical history
- drug prescriptions
- Vital signs
- lab results
- radiological reports
- Notes from doctors and nurses.
This allows different health providers to access complete information to provide more accurate care. A systematic review of the impact of the electronic medical record found that it has achieved positive effects in the efficiency of the time used for data collection, in greater adherence to practice guidelines, in the reduction of medical errors, and in the reduction of adverse drug effects. However, this greater efficiency does not necessarily translate into a more personal relationship between doctor and patient.
Accuracy Doesn’t Always Equal Satisfaction
Technological innovations can bring benefits to health services. But this is not enough for patients, who seek a good relationship with their doctor and what they value most is the quantity and quality of time spent listening to them and responding to their concerns.
Several studies have shown that the fact that a doctor is friendly, educated, and has good communication with his patients has a lot of weight when evaluating health systems. Even if the doctor is correct in his diagnosis and treatment, but offers a treatment that is not considered good by the patient, the level of trust in the health professional, and therefore his overall performance rating, decreases. And is that closeness to the patient is one of the pillars on which primary health care and people-centered care are based.
To ensure that health technology does not digitize our lives and maintains its human touch, it should be more oriented toward the recovery of the doctor-patient relationship. Users, the true protagonists of healthcare systems, do not necessarily want a robot or other technology to replace their doctor or nurse. What they want is to feel supported and safe when they go to health services. Even if the person may be less than perfect in their diagnosis, they are human.
If technology is going to streamline data collection processes so doctors and patients can spend more time building trust bonds, we’re on the right track. But if patient care is automated, we will have missed an opportunity to leverage digital transformation to improve quality of life.
Do you think you have a good relationship with your doctor? Would you be comfortable with a robot as a doctor? Share your reactions to this article in the comments or mention it on Twitter.