Healthcare’s Dings, Pings, and Rings


Doctor and Doll by Normal Rockwell 1894

Last night I participated in the #Bioethx chat. Monday’s discussion combined 2 worlds I greatly appreciate: Art and Medicine.

I have to applaud Jennifer Chevinsky (@jchevinsky) for her selection of art relating back to medicine, and for encouraging all of us to pause and consider the story of each piece.

The above artwork created by Norman Rockwell in 1894 entitled Doctor and Doll made me think of how the relationship between patients and physicians has changed over the years.

There was a time when a physician made house calls. The physician knew the family members without vast quantities of data points, charting, and forms. A physician shared their telephone number with the family. A physician most likely understood the family history because he or she cared for their parents, grandparents, and their extended family.

All the technology and knowledge a physician needed was kept in their mind and carried along in that black medical bag.

Patients were not required to call a central scheduler, get a referral, send their insurance card information, get a per-authorization, collect all of their previous records, and verify that all of the information had been received and updated.

Physicians were not pressed for time based on productivity, efficiency, and computerized scheduling. They were limited on time based on distance and acuity.

In today’s world of dings, pings, and rings we are hypersensitive to the updates provided by our technology.

Yet many patients and families that we provide care for have plenty of sighs, cries, and why’s that go unanswered and unattended to by physicians and clinicians.

Technology has created a barrier to the art of medicine.

As Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox) stated in her post “The Future of Aging and Technology” I too want to see a future in which medical technology

“..will begin to disappear and become like electricity, something we don’t notice on a daily basis.”

We need to begin thinking of how we combine the old and the new to generate the healthcare models of tomorrow.

As my friend and colleague Erin Wold (@ErinEWold) has coined:

“I want to ensure that we leverage technology to put the #MeInMedicine”

How do we create more art in healthcare?

I want to paint a future in which technology is embedded into the lives of patients and allows physicians to connect, know, and care for us on a personal level.

That’s the art I help to create in healthcare.

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek



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