Patients have the power to make doctors more digital

If your doctor isn’t communicating with you outside the exam room, find a new doctor.

How do we engage these new digitally-empowered health care consumers?

At a recent health conference, doctors Danny Sands and Ted Eytan said the answer was simple.

If you want people to participate more in their health care, you have to start by finding physicians who actually want them to do so.

  • If your doctor doesn’t use electronic medical records—and encourage you to access and understand them—find a new doctor.
  • If your doctor isn’t interested in what you’re reading about your condition online, find a new doctor.
  • If your doctor doesn’t use connected technologies to communicate with you outside the exam room, find a new doctor.
  • It’s an issue that’s bigger than doctors, bigger than any individual health care system.

What Sands and Eytan uncovered is a new divide in health care. It’s not the haves and have nots; not the sick and the well; or even the digitally-connected and unconnected. Instead, it’s in the culture of the providers we choose.

It’s the divide between the companies, individuals and practices that invest in very human experiences around the moment of care and those that do not. It’s the gap between the ones that build the new interactions people want and those that do not.

Think about that question way beyond the exam room:

  • Does the brand that makes your diabetes drug deliver it in a super simple auto injector that looks like it was designed by Apple? Or do they expect you to manage a handful of vials and tools to measure each dose?
  • Does your urgent care queue you up in a long line? Or do you swipe a card to easily check-in, airline-style?
  • Does your pharmacy automatically fill every prescription you bring in or do they ask hard questions and help you figure out how it all works together?

A version of this story first appeared on the Health Experience Project.

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