South Florida Hospital News
Friday August 23, 2019
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June 2019 - Volume 15 - Issue 12

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When It Comes to Patient Care, Be Careful with Technology

It is hard to make this stuff up. I was reading through a trade publication and the headline to an article actually read: Family upset, when ‘robot’ doctor tells grandfather he does not have long to live. To protect the names of the not-so-innocent, I will not mention the prominent Health System that thought it would increase patient care and satisfaction by having a robot with a computer monitor go room to room with a video link to the doctor. Someone somewhere thought it would increase communication levels between doctors and patients, and to that extent, they were correct. The big miss was that when a doctor has really, really bad news, nothing beats an actual face to face conversation. What is next? Texting terminal test results?!? What seemed like a cool, almost futuristic idea blew up in the organization’s face because nobody bothered to develop protocols around the new technology. Listen, we all get it, technology is everywhere and can provide a huge benefit to patient experience and cost reductions, but we must balance it with common sense. Many love the ability to book appointments online, receive text/email reminders, and don’t mind viewing their lab results on a smartphone, however some still like to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone. It is similar with patient interaction. Things like this robot doctor, virtual nurse, and fingerprint ID registration are exciting, but never let it interfere with the personal connection we ALWAYS need to have. Unless you are dealing with a greedy narcist, when asked what things are most important to them, almost everyone will respond with health, family and happiness near the top of the list. Never forget that as we continue to embark into a new era of technology and innovation. We risk a ton of bad press and more importantly letting a patient and their family down if we don’t.

 

Jay Juffre is Executive Vice President, ImageFIRST. For more information on ImageFIRST, call 1-800-932-7472 or visit www.imagefirst.com.

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