How much do you use online tools to communicate with patients? Physicians are increasingly communicating with their patients online. In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, it was stated that “generally, the most common digital doctor services are the simplest ones, like paying bills, sending lab results and scheduling appointments, and you will likely find these digital tools convenient once you start using them to avoid phone calls.”
So, how else are online tools being used? The Wall Street Journal named a few—
- Patients are using computers to deal with issues that usually require a trip to the doctor’s office
- The practice of online care has grown as more health insurers begin paying doctors for treating patients online
- Doctors are using digital communication to track patients with chronic conditions like diabetes who can regularly send in their blood-sugar readings.
- Online doctor visits are steadily on the rise. For instance—
- Version 1: One version requires patients to fill out interactive questionnaires that automatically generate follow-up queries based on the symptoms patients describe. The answers go to the patient’s doctor who typically responds within a day.
- Version 2: Another type of digital doctor visit is similar to a secure email. Patients type in a free-form message, which is often sent through a special Web site.
- Version 3: Another version is a live online visit. This uses technology that allows for a real-time interaction between doctors and patients using Web video or live chat.
Would you use these sorts of digital tools and communications? While this may allow physicians to see an increased number of patients, how does this correlate with patient care? Will it improve with the use of digital technology?