More care taking place outside of traditional times and places:
Doctors used to provide patients with care when patients were in front of them.
“Now the whole issue of place and time is shifting and so is the whole concept of patient-to-doctor communication,” says Jonathan Weiner, DrPH, referring to the various ways that patients and doctors can exchange information now that include electronic means such as online portal or the use of apps that offer visual as well as auditory data. Weiner is a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of its Center for Population Health IT.
Pat Wise, RN, the vice president of healthcare information systems for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), says that electronic means of connecting can substantively improve patient care as well as convenience. She described a patient who, during the Ebola crisis, returned from an overseas with a fever and a strange rash on his thorax.
“Seeing the rash, his doctor jumped back five feet and said ‘Where have you been?’” Then, observing that the patient had reasonable energy and seemed to be all right, the doctor told him to communicate daily about how he felt and any changes for the next seven days, via the practice’s patient portal. “That would not have happened a few years ago,” says Pat. She foresees such more-frequent, odd-hours communication happening more and more, improving patient care.