A Mashup for Doctor Patient Relationships
A mashup, is a web page or application that combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services. The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open Application programming interfaces (API) and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data.
The main characteristics of a mashup are combination, visualization, and aggregation. Maships make existing data more useful, for personal and professional use. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(web_application_hybrid)
3 aspects of technology are driving a sea of change in the doctor-patient relationship:
- Technical: Smartphone usage and adoption of innovative healthcare apps are rising rapidly. Android may soon be the biggest selling medical device in the world. Combined with private social networks for doctors and patients, healthcare apps become a teaching and reference tool and also a great private messaging tool for doctors to provide guidance and patients to provide their personal experience and latest data points.
- Knowledge management: Doctors have always been among the heaviest users of Internet and search technology in the world for searching, investigating, collaborating and publishing papers.Once upon a time, doctors were exclusive gatekeepers of knowledge that a patient could not hope to attain.Today, patients have high accessibility to data (whether a layman can correctly interpret the data and convert it into valuable information and avoid post-hoc error is another story…).The doctor-patient relationship is getting more personal, to the point where doctors often ask patients “What do you think you have?” and fully expect the patient to have done his research before he came in.
- Time (not having enough of it): We are all busy, but doctors are really busy people and they’d love to spend more time communicating with patients rather than getting into trouble with technology, clunky user interfaces and arcane menus. A great user interface is fun, compelling and time saving for a busy doctor. It is not easy to develop smartphone apps, but as the competency of the programmers and quality of the development tools increase, we are seeing more and more apps with excellent user interfaces and less of the old style Pacman / Windows 95 UI. As the hardware gets faster and prices drop, we are seeing faster and more visually appealing apps.
User interfaces for healthcare apps are improving, the knowledge gap is narrowing and the hardware is getting faster all the time.
But is ease-of-use, accessibility and fast hardware a replacement for a real doctor-patient relationship?
Can healthcare apps, search engines, and directories add value to healthcare without doctors?
The message we get, is actually less important than whom we get it from. A message received from a doctor in person, is more valuable to a patient than the same message from a search result.
The doctor-patient relationship is based on trust, privacy and the doctor’s training; 3 things that you cannot get online.
If you trust someone a lot – then you’ll really listen to their message. If you don’t trust them – then you may believe the opposite of what they say.
People became doctors because they wanted to help people, learn science and achieve better science, not because they wanted to make a career out of texting with patients.
Patients come to doctors after conducting their own research because they need the physicians knowledge, scientific training and gateway services to that scarce social resource called healthcare.
So we have two channels in essence; a digital channel where you can search and play with your app and a physical channel where you can learn and be guided by your doctor.
This is really a mashup. A maship of your virtual life and your real life.
And, that mashup of digital interactions and real interaction is a wonderful contribution to the doctor-patient relationship.