Technology has changed the way patients and doctors communicate. From emails and social media to telemedicine services, doctors are becoming more “reachable”. The medium of communication between individuals is expanding with the aid of technology. The idealism of connected care is understandable, especially so for chronic diseases.
Social media has revolutionised how news and information is spread. It has set the bar for speed in information dissemination. This thirst for speed has also spilled over when it comes to healthcare. Expectations are high when it comes to communication with the healthcare team.
2. Social media, Emails, Telemedicine platforms, Messengers
The modalities of communication is ever increasing. There is no possible way now of totally ostracising yourself from the internet. Patients will find every possible way to get to you. Resistance is probably futile. The key is how is one going to manage the different modalities and organise them in a way that promotes outcomes.
Being reachable means being accountable. Failure to adequately and promptly address certain issues may invite litigation should an untoward incident occur. Will a doctor be held accountable if a delay in replying or a miscommunication via the myriad platforms, lead to an less than ideal outcome?
The amount of information that a health professional has to process has exponentially increased. Hence the argument for artificial intelligence and machine learning. This can help process the array of information, make sense of it, and not be bound by fatigue.
Until AI matures in a doctor-patient relationship, being reachable means being accountable.