By DJ Edgerton
The recurring series of Patient 2.0 posts looks at what goes on outside the marketing company and the exam room. Where are the other links in the healthcare chain and how can digital technology help them?
Testing, x-rays, biopsies, minor surgery like LASIK, or a procedure like a colonoscopy – those day trips to a hospital facility are usually accompanied by a little bit of nervousness, a whole lot of waiting – and not a lot to write home about.
Why are outpatient procedures so often afterthoughts, when they can be what catches a serious condition, or what stops a health problem from worsening?
Why aren’t we making them less frightening and utilitarian – and more inviting?
How can digital technology make these experiences more efficient for patient, doctor and institution and more effective in diagnosing and treating illness and promoting health?
Here’s a list of idea sparks. Can your clients solve any of these problems? Can your projects? Can you?
Why can’t lab technicians give patients a USB flash drive with a copy of their X-rays films?
If she can go online to get a credit report, order a pizza, reserve a library book or apply for a mortgage, why must an exhausted cancer patient get in the car and drive in order to sign for a copy of her records in person?
Why can’t I get a text message 24 hours before blood work to remind me not to eat anything?
Why isn’t there an online database for patients to rate outpatient facilities in order to share and warn about negative or unsafe experiences, like those outlined in this recent Wall Street Journal article?
Why doesn’t a practice confront the bad reputations of colonoscopies or mammograms by directing nervous patients to YouTube or Vimeo shorts of patients explaining what it’s really like to go through them?
Many of these would be argued against – on the grounds of low budgets, HIPAA regulations, or the complex relationships between facilities, hospitals and insurers.
But really, the problem is inertia.
Outpatient procedures can help manage health with less pain, less medicine, less expense and less effort. Digital technology needs to be more closely integrated in making them a more comfortable part of patients’ lives.