Digital health: an oxymoron?

UnknownPOST SUMMARY: When it comes to managing your health no digital tool, app, website, is going to replace the knowledge and skill of your doctor.  It’s therefore essential that physicians learn to reach out to patients and treat the whole person at a time when our health care system is in the midst of a new era.

The idea that an app or website can help chronically ill patients better their health problem is not realistic.  Sure, they can provide feedback and suggest things that patients can do to help themselves, but if we really want to help patients we need to provide better access to their doctors.  Doctors have to spend time to learn about their patients, but more importantly, they need to get back to the basics of medicine.

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I for one am sick and tired of hearing about physicians who complain about “how hard it is to practice medicine”.  They need, as an organized group, to put patients at the center of their world and if this means battling the insurance companies than so be it.

If you want patients to come back and see you more often than treat them like people, not charts.  When was the last time you actually called a patient because you were concerned about something that might not have been discussed enough?

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Digital health is hot right now because of one thing and one thing only:money.  There are a lot of startups who see digital health as a way to get a lot of money, but before this hype bubble gets too big perhaps someone should ask patients if they really want to manage their health with an app or have a better relationship with their doctor.