A Message about Messaging
Many people in Canada avoid going to their doctor if they can help it. Not because they don’t like their doctor, and not because they don’t trust the advice, but mostly because talking to your doctor is not an easy process. Especially for things as simple as a routine prescription renewal. An in-person meeting just to get a prescription renewed is often unnecessary and inefficient for both doctor and patient.
Let’s face it, clinics are busy. If you have ever sat in the waiting room of a medical clinic, you know well the sound of a ringing phone and the office staff asking patients to please hold. Here in Kelowna, many people do not have a family physician and walk-in clinics are often full for the day by 1pm. It is all too common that a call into a doctor’s office to follow up on an appointment, or to get a test result can cost you and the clinic hours of time.
Clinics are doing their best, but demand is high as they work to serve not only a growing, but aging population with limited resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if talking to your doctor was as easy as a text message?
The rules around patient data information exchange force the hand in the game of clinic to patient phone tag. And, we are glad the rules are as strict as they are – it protects us and our health information. But, it does hinder the transfer of information, when the tools doctors in Canada can use to connect with their patients are limited to phone, fax and letter mail.
But, MedTech is changing all that, providing more tools, so things like text messages can one day be possible.
It starts with the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. This is the platform that will allow information exchange and will connect doctors to their patients, information and each other.
There is now technology that connects doctors to patients in a text like fashion through applications like Medeo. The doctor uses the EMR to message the patient and the patient uses the Medeo app to receive the message.
Most doctors shy away from the notion of a technology like this as it could potentially put them in the position of having patients message them at all hours of the day and night. However, not the case with this messaging system.
There is now a messaging system that gives complete control to the doctor. If the doctor wants to send a test result to a patient and not allow a message from the patient to come back, then there are controls that allow that. Alternately, if a response is required, then that is possible, so that two-way communication can occur. Each message can be controlled, and the doctor can close the conversation at any time. All the patient has to do is log in to the Medeo app and receive their message.
The best part about this messaging system is that the messages go right into the patient chart, so there is always a record of what was said by both doctor and patient.
MedTech is creating more effective ways to interact, that hopefully will free up capacity for the clinics, save patients time, and help Canadians be a bit more proactive with their overall health. Long term, this even has the potential to shift our entire system to be more preventative and less reactive which is not only better for patients, but better for the healthcare system overall.
So, even though we may not have something as straightforward as text messaging, we are making connections in healthcare easier, to allow doctors and patients greater access to achieve better health outcomes.