January 16, 2015

Consumer-Driven Healthcare Is an Uncomfortable Concept

This comes from this link and is a past topic from September 17, 2012. I felt it was time to bring it up again. I have written about doctors that feel they are all the patient needs and there are too many of these still practicing. These doctors will not accept consumer-driven healthcare. Some of these doctors have set the parameters when they tell patients not to come back if they are using the internet to look up information on their disease or illness.

If you have one of these doctors, be prepared to find another doctor. In the past, they were in the majority, but this is changing. Until recently, all the data, information, and knowledge were in the domain of doctors and healthcare professionals, and the consumer, patient, and individual was out there without that information, and not even their own data. But that's changing very quickly and often for the best.

Much of the information is from a book titled “The Creative Destruction of Medicine,” by Eric J. Topol, MD. The article by the same author is on Medscape dot Com and is very interesting.

Patients will, in the future, have the capability of accessing notes from an office visit and hospital records, as well as laboratory data and DNA sequencing, and on one's smartphone, for example, blood pressure and glucose and all the key physiologic metrics.

When each patient has access to all this critical data, there will be a real shakeup to the old way that medicine was practiced. In the past, the Internet was supposed to be empowering for consumers, but that really didn't matter because what the consumer could get through the Internet was data about a population. Now, one can get data about oneself, and, of course, a center hub for all that data sharing will be the smartphone.

But in the future, with each patient potentially armed with so much data and information, the role of the doctor will be a very different one. It will be to provide guidance, wisdom, knowledge, and judgment and, of course, the critical aspects of compassion, empathy, and communication. That is a whole different look for the consumer-driven healthcare world of the future.

When Dr. Topol talks about communication, he is not talking about patient engagement, but real honest communication between the doctor and patient which helps both and does not muddy the communication. Few doctors are willing to do this and always attempt to divert the conversation to what they want to say. They are looking for patients that will aimlessly follow what the doctor orders.

As people with diabetes, we do not want these doctors. They do not live with us and if they will not provide the data we need, we can find another doctor that is more encouraging and communicates with us. Since we only see most doctors for about 15 minutes per quarter or about an hour per year out of 8736 hours per year, most of us find that the more information the doctor will provide us, the better we can manage our diabetes.

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