The digitalization of medicine is going forward rapidly. I am a big fan myself.
Thanks to my smartphone and well-aligned apps, my clinical workflow is in order and guarantees easy access to relevant information.
But these tools don’t replace good, patient-focused medicine. They are no more than tools. Used in the wrong manner, they can be a not only a distraction but an obstacle to good medicine.
Every tool I use is digital, paperless and easily accessible from any computer with an internet connection.
Thus, I can access all of my favorite apps and tools in a matter of seconds. That makes sure, that I get my things done and can help more patients, and even have a chat with them from time to time .
However, the digitalization of Medicine (or as some call it Medicine 4.0) bears the big danger of distraction. They can help us with certain things, but we should never overestimate their function.
All of these gadgets, wearables, apps and toys are what they are: only tools.
Basically all they do is this: They enable the doctor to access and share information more easily and rapidly.
While they are helpful under many circumstances, usually, they take the focus off
- the patient
- the history
- the physical examination.
In one of my favorite books “Good To Great“ author Jim Collins analyzes great companies and organisations that made the leap from mediocre to extraordinary. He analyzed how their strategies and habits distinguished the great ones from the good ones.
“When used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. Great companies refrained from adopting technology because it was trendy; each tool they chose to leverage was carefully selected. Disciplined thought and the clarity gained from a developed Hedgehog Concept, led good-to-great leaders to review what was truly relevant to their business, analyzing applications to deepen their understanding of its impact. In turn, pioneering strategies in the applications of technologies emerged.”
It couldn’t be more true: personalized extraordinary medicine is the result of a doctor with great ideas, thoughts and knowledge. It is not the result of the best apps.
What does that mean for doctors?
We should ask the question:
- Which tool can help me to perform better patient-centered medicine, where the patient is the main focus?
- Which tool helps me to spend more time with my patient, as otherwise complicated tasks are simplified?
At the end, the patient should always be at the center of our work. If a tool helps us accomplish this goal: great.
If not: I don’t use it…
Which tool is your favorite assistant in providing patient-focused medicine? Leave a comment below.