Healthcare, at its most fundamental level, has always been about making connections. Whether it’s the comforting hand of nurse reassuring a patient with a poor diagnosis, a researcher putting disparate data sets together to discover a lifesaving treatment, or a surgeon sharing good news with a worried family, communication in all its forms is vital to bringing good health to patients.
Providers deeply value these opportunities to truly deliver care, and are fiercely protective of their ability to engage with patients on a human level, not just a clinical one.
To these professionals, patient engagement means more than just ticking off a check box when someone signs up for an online account. It means stepping up to have the tough conversations about losing weight or using tobacco, and listening to patients when they share their fears or want to ask questions.
But maintaining these interpersonal relationships is hard work, and it keeps becoming harder as administrative tasks slice into appointment times.
With burnout reaching epidemic levels and a frightening shortage of physicians coloring the dialogue of how proceed with the industry’s broad reform goals, campaigns such as the AMA’s “Moments Matter” movement are doing their best to keep this type of meaningful connection in the consult room.
Ask most providers if health IT has helped or hindered them in this quest, and they will probably say the latter. Electronic health records are cumbersome, confusing, time-consuming, and distance providers from their patients, they will say.