Challenging the Digital Divide Between Patients and Doctors
By Laura Fegraus, Executive Director, Council of Accountable Physician Practices
If you’re like most Americans, you make your travel reservations online, do your personal banking online, and use your phone to board a plane.
And if you’re like most Americans, you can’t perform any of those digital transactions with your doctor’s office. You most likely don’t have the option of texting your doctor, making an appointment by e-mail, checking your medical records online, or having a video visit with your doctor when it’s convenient to you.
This digital divide was dramatically revealed in the results of a Nielsen Strategic Health Perspectives Survey – “How Americans Use Technology for Healthcare,” sponsored by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the Bipartisan Policy Center, and presented at the “Better Together: High Tech and High Touch – The Patient-Physician Relationship in the New Millennium” event, held in Washington D.C., last November.
Highlights of this event are now available for viewing at bettertogetherhealth.org. CAPP’s Better Together Health event evolved from our desire to raise the voices of two key stakeholders who are often less prominent national discussions on the health care system– patients and physicians. This research, and our event, represented a major step forward toward fulfilling CAPP’s mission to advance the discussion toward truly accountable healthcare. While the media, healthcare marketers and technology companies hold up technology as the solution to America’s healthcare problems, our 2015 survey results showed that most Americans don’t even get the “old school” phone and mail reminders about appointments. Only two percent have ever experienced a video doctor visit. Even people with complex or chronic illnesses didn’t have much access to the digital tools to help coordinate their care.
Our survey found that the reasons for this lack of access are complicated and multi-factorial. Despite the financial and regulatory barriers that exist to expand the use of telemedicine, the multi-specialty medical groups and integrated systems that are members of CAPP are leading the way — using their long-standing commitment to coordinated, patient-centered care to deliver solutions that are both high- tech and high-touch. Once again, You can see videos about how access to technology has transformed the lives of our patients here.
Meet Felipe, who lost his eyesight and now manages his diabetes through telehealth video consultations, saving him from the tremendous burden of traveling on public transportation across town to see a physician.
Watch Baby Emma recover at home from a burn wound while being monitored by video by her specialist.
Listen to Karen describe how her ten-year treatment for cancer is seamlessly coordinated through technology and her various careteams.
And to Teresa, who now enjoys her active senior lifestyle after a heart problem was resolved conveniently and safely through her tele-connected team of health specialists.
We hope our Better Together Health event raised awareness of how the appropriate use of technology can improve patient care, reduce stress, and delivery quality outcomes.
This June, in 2016, we intend to continue the conversation as we ask what Americans really expect from their healthcare system. To get more information about our upcoming events and activities, please visit www.bettertogetherhealth.org to sign up for updates. We hope you will join us.