There’s a stereotype that says doctors shun technology that might threaten patients’ privacy and their own pocketbooks.
Is your doctor a technophobe? Increasingly, the answer may be no. There’s a stereotype that says doctors shun technology that might threaten patients’ privacy and their own pocketbooks. But a new breed of physicians is texting health messages to patients, tracking disease trends on Twitter, identifying medical problems on Facebook pages and communicating with patients through email.
So far, those numbers are small. Many doctors still cling to pen and paper, and are most comfortable using e-technology to communicate with each other – not with patients. But from the nation’s top public health agency, to medical clinics in the heartland, some physicians realize patients want more than a 15-minute office visit and callback at the end of the day.
Far from Silicon Valley and East Coast high-tech hubs, Kansas City pediatrician Natasha Burgert offers child-rearing tips on her blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, and answers patients’ questions by email and text messages.
“These tools are embedded in my work day,” Burgert said. “This is something I do in between checkups. It’s much easier for me to shoot you an email and show you a blog post than it is to phone you back. That’s what old-school physicians are going to be doing, spending an hour at the end of the day” returning patients’ phone calls, she said.
She recently received a typical email – from a mother wondering how to wean her 2-year-old from a pacifier. With a few thumb clicks, Burgert sent the mom a link to a blog post offering tips on that same topic.
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