It’s a few days early but why not get a leap on my conference blogging? My daughter and I arrived in Paris in preparation for the Doctors 2.0 conference:
“THE” INTERNATIONAL EVENT OF 2013 IN HEALTHCARE SOCIAL MEDIA & WEB 2.0
After not sleeping on the flight over (I never sleep on airplanes) we arrived at our very pleasant apartment in the Marais, set up through “A La Carte Paris“. Kelly walked in the door, checked out the very high tech amenities as well as the bathroom hidden in the bank of cabinets on the wall:
Oh MY — there it is!
She then announced “We’re staying in an Inspector Gadget’s apartment!”
We spent the afternoon on a walk through Montmartre given by Chris through City Free Tours. After a beer in the Place de Tertre we made our way home and decided to eat in and then crash. Not too much Social Media in Medicine was accomplished today, but everyone deserves a day or two off. I’ll be tweeting from the meeting and looking forward to learning more on that topic starting Wednesday night when I’ll have the pleasure of dining with some of the best on #hcsm, @HealthHashtags, @clearmd, and #doctor20 IRL.* In the meantime, Bon Appetit.
Physician-to-physician communication has become an increasingly difficult problem and its lack has worsened the fragmentation of healthcare today. The challenge is complicated by many things:
Physicians lack the time to call colleagues about patients when their income is patient volume-based
Fewer opportunities for direct physician contact, i.e. the doctor’s lounge
EHR systems cannot talk to each other
Patients don’t always tell their physicians about other doctors taking care of them
Printed EHR records are so full of verbiage that important findings are missed by the doctors trying to scan pages of unimportant documentation
Patients rarely carry their health histories with them in any format outside of memory
Another problem, at least in the healthcare system where I work, is the lack of a centralized area where physicians can come together to find community specific information. Blast emails are sent to doctors whose boxes are already full of “junk”, making it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Recognizing this problem I recently approached the IT department at my institution.
It was gratifying to me that they not only understood the issue, but were excited about assisting in a solution. My vision is to create a Physician Community where providers can go to find answers and communicate in a secure environment about any number of issues–problems with EHR, announcements, medical directors’ updates, calendars with CME and other dates of interest, blogs, CME, vlogs, links to outside trustworthy medical sites, and a place to crowdsource patient or system problems. IT gave me access to build such a community in a Sharepoint environment.
Of course in addition to the problem of building the environment and populating it with what the doctors need, is getting them to use it. I feel certain that “If you build it they will come” does not apply in this situation. I envision needing to enlist lots of assistance from the President and CMO of the system down to the office managers and EHR superusers.
I’m a firm believer that Social Media is the most important revolution in patient care today. Effective electronic communication between physician is part of that movement. But today, as I’m reading Sharepoint for Dummies, I can’t help but wonder–what was I thinking and can this make a difference?
Last week I attended the Mayo Clinic’s Annual Social Media Summit in Rochester. What most impressed me had nothing to do with the conference. On Tuesday afternoon before the Summit began I toured Mayo Clinic. It was supposed to be for an hour but lasted more than two because our group, consisting of one doctor and nineteen PR professionals, was so interested in the information being fed to us. I don’t know why the publicity folks were so intrigued, but for me Mayo’s philosophy of “patient-centered, physician-led” care hearkened back to a time when the patient-physician relationship was inviolate. It was stimulating to realize that my instincts of how medicine is best-practiced are right on target. My myopic opinion regarding the fragmentation of healthcare sees the destruction of the patient-physician relationship by multiple entities, who are primarily interested in a piece of the economic pie, as central to our healthcare mess. At Mayo, no project moves forward unless there is a physician who champions it and it is the physician’s responsibility to ensure that every project is dedicated to improving some aspect of patient care. Physicians are salaried so they spend the time necessary to care for patients and are not incentivized to increase the numbers of patients seen or do procedures to enhance the bottom line.
Every person I met who worked for Mayo reiterated the importance of putting patient care and comfort first. It was incredibly refreshing. The Mayo logo emphasizes a patient-first policy as well. I’d seen the logo multiple times but somehow never thought about what the three shields represent. Our tour guide explained: Patient care, research and education. The educational aspect was obvious as we walked multiple floors of patient care areas. I noticed no TVs in patient waiting rooms but many had computer screens where patients could learn about their conditions. It is a refreshing and calming atmosphere without the cacophony of media noise. There is art everywhere. Waiting rooms are spacious and well-lit. Meditation rooms and educational spaces abound.
Children’s waiting area
Mayo has always represented excellent healthcare in my mind. Patient reports that come to me after a visit there are extraordinary due to the extent of the integrative care the patient experiences from multiple medical disciplines coming together. I expected to be impressed. I did not realize I would also be reassured. Putting patients first is what I’ll continue to strive to do, despite insurance interference, governmental policies or EHR dysfunction.