Telemedicine may be a good way to maximize resources (i.e. doctors’ time) and minimize costs by sourcing doctors in lower cost locales, but its practitioners must not neglect the art of patient care.
Technology has made it possible to offer care over wide geographies so that medical assistance is possible in areas where no care existed. This net positive development can become even more positive if providers teach, stress, and practice the soft skills of developing rapport and treating the person, rather than merely focusing on the symptoms/disease.
To get the full benefits, telemedicine must extend beyond technological and low cost solutions and continue the recent work of traditional health care providers to humanize patient care. Doctors and nurses now receive more training than ever about establishing rapport and truly listening with a goal to improve care. This training must be mandatory for telemedicine professionals.
Since health care is a type of customer experience it should come as no surprise to practitioners who say that a positive experience results in better financial outcomes. Indeed, health care providers say the same thing – improved bedside manners result in better financial and safer end states. A couple of quotations illustrate:
“If patients feel their doctors genuinely care, experts said, they’re more likely to take medications and comply with recommendations.”
“This is not just important to hospitals because it basically affects the bottom line. It’s important because patient satisfaction will lead to better outcomes. …it’s more than just getting a high survey number. It’s a patient safety issue so this is a good thing.”
Telemedicine is an amazing way to supply highly valuable resources to the neediest in the world. The pivot point is that medicine must be highly humane at the same time it is highly technical so that the reality equals the possibilities.