Health IT, data glut altering patient-physician relationship

Even with the vast majority of medical records still stored in paper files, health IT already has had a profound effect on the ways in which people seek and receive care, thanks to social networking, electronic patient-physician communication, mobile applications and, of course, the growing number of EMRs, some experts say.

"For as long as we've known, healthcare has been 'I go to the physician, and they tell me what to do, and I do it,'" says Dr. Nitu Kashyap, research fellow at the Yale Center for Medical Informatics, tells Scientific American.

"Soon more patients will be arriving at a hospital or doctor's office having reviewed their own record, latest test results and recommended articles about their health concerns. And even more individuals will be able to skip that visit altogether, instead sending a text message or email to their care provider or consulting a personal health record or smartphone application to answer their questions," the magazine reports. FierceHealthIT readers no doubt knew that already, but how many of your organizations have adjusted to those changing dynamics, particularly since reimbursement and liability laws haven't always kept up?

With more data in the hands of patients and providers alike, there is a growing "expectation that you will be smarter about how you use that data to treat patients," says John Gomez, VP and chief technology strategy officer at EMR vendor Eclipsys. In many ways, the shift in patient-physician relationship already has created a workflow crisis on the provider side. This, say several people interviewed for the article, could encourage expansion of the roles of nurses, PAs and other clinicians, as well as the rise of "participatory medicine."

To learn more:
- have a look at this Scientific American story

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